The “tick, tock” of a clock was all that could be heard at the ABB HQ on Buckingham Palace Road last week. A silent gloom has descended over the bookmakers’ trade body.
After a frenzied few weeks of spinning, lying, blustering, wining and dining, Malcolm George (CEO) and his “crack” team of lobbyists were told “brace yourselves” by former DCMS Minister John Whittingdale – the man who once protected their beloved “crack cocaine machines”.
As he addressed the bookies’ annual meeting in London, he warned them that “significant” changes will soon be announced. The latest rumour swirling round is that an announcement and decision on the £1.8 billion a year machines is very near and the news isn’t good for the bookies and their trade body.
Former Ed Balls’ Chief of Staff, turned bookie lobbyist, Gary Follis was dispatched to “seek help to avoid Armageddon” as local journalists were sent into betting shops by their news desks on missions to get addicted to the machines.
As Councils, Councilors, MPs, MSPs, AMs, push forward with their demands for fewer betting shops on their high streets, the ABB granted their wish referencing a “confidential” report they had commissioned which showed a small number of betting shops could close in each Parliamentary constituency in England, Scotland and Wales should stakes be cut. For the Council leading calls for stakes to be cut to £2, losing a couple of their 84 betting shops might not be enough.
As the clock ticks, the ABB and their bookmaker members wait for the inevitable.
Content produced and sponsored by Stop the FOBTS.