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Shares in Britain’s biggest betting companies fall

By Charlotte Ricca

Gambling stocks suffer as MPs recommend £2 online betting limit

Paddy Power shares down

Shares in Britain’s biggest gambling companies fell for the second time today, after MPs called for a betting limit on online games to match restrictions on instore betting terminals.

A report by the Gambling Related Harm All Party Parliamentary group (GRH APPG) recommends staking levels are set at £2 for online slot machine games. This is the same as the fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs), which were cut from £100 to £2, last year.

The report follows a six-month inquiry into the harm caused by online gambling. In addition to a stake limit, the recommendations include:

· Banning the use of credit cards

· Restrictions on VIP accounts and inducements

· Improved affordability checks

Commenting on the report, GRH APPG vice chair Iain Duncan Smith said: “It is outrageous that there are not stake limits online, that gamblers are still able to gamble using credit cards online and that operators are able to continue to offer inducements to the vulnerable without proper sanction.”

Since the FOBT stake limit was reduced £100 to £2 in April 2018, betting companies have sought to grow their revenue via online gambling. Ladbrokes owner GVC saw revenues for its high street shops fall eight per cent in the three months to July, while online revenues rose 12 per cent. This new law could have serious implications for the company.

GCV shares bounced in afternoon trading, recovering some of their ten per cent fall on the report publication. This could also be due to the appointment of Barry Gibson as the company’s new chair.

Other betting brands to suffer from the GRH APPG report include William Hill, whose shares fell over 13.66 per cent,. Flutter, owner of Paddy Power, also saw single digit falls.

Rank Group‘s shares 888 Holdings‘ shares are down to 153p, after falling 13.67 per cent yesterday and 1.54 per cent today.

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