Bookies call on Osborne to stop industry attack

Oliver Smith
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THE HIGH street betting industry will present a petition to Downing Street this morning calling on the government to stop legislation that it claims is putting 10,000 jobs at risk.

The petition of more than 1m signatures follows chancellor George Osborne’s budget, which imposed a 25 per cent tax rate on fixed odds betting machines. The move wiped £460m off the market valuations of William Hill and Ladbrokes.

The government is also expected this week to unveil new measures handing local councils the power to veto the opening of new betting shops in towns.

“There is no concrete evidence to show action on gaming machines will do anything to minimise problem gambling. Less than one per cent of gamblers are problem gamblers. And that number is falling,” said Association of British Bookmakers chief executive Dirk Vennix.

“Let’s be clear, thousands of jobs are in jeopardy following the chancellor’s Budget. They will be lost forever if further action is taken.”