Industry event to discuss Future of the UK High Street Bookmakers

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Panels and keynotes planned for September 13 at Soho Hotel, London

Stakeholders in the future of the UK high street bookmakers will be taking part in a dedicated event taking place on 13 September that will look into how the industry should respond to the upcoming £2 maximum stake on B2 gaming machines.

The event, to be held at the Soho Hotel in London, is being organised by Clear Concise Media in conjunction with law firm Wiggin and industry intelligence service GamblingCompliance.

Among the scheduled speakers and panellists are Lyndsay Wright, director of strategy and sustainability at William Hill, Alex Frost, chief executive at Alizeti Capital, Gillian Wilmott, chair at Senet and Nick Rust, chief executive at the British Horseracing Authority (BHA).

The afternoon event has been organised in response to the decision by the government in May to limit maximum stakes on B2 gaming machines among other measures.

The Future of the UK High Street Bookmakers will survey the potential new landscape and provide a forum for key participants and stakeholders to explore how the bookmakers can reposition themselves operationally and strategically.

A regulatory focus

The event will take place at the Soho Hotel in London on 13 September. It will run from 2pm to 5.30pm with drinks afterwards and will take place in front of an invited audience of industry operatives, suppliers, media and industry observers.

“The gambling industry has been in the political spotlight for some time. Now that the consequences of the Triennial Review are clear (albeit that the timings are currently less clear), the retail betting sector needs to prepare for the future,” said Stephen Ketteley, partner at Wiggin. “While this will mean addressing some of the negativity surrounding the industry, it also creates an opportunity for the bookies to innovate and offer a product suite that today’s punter wants on the high street.”

Ketteley will take part in a panel discussing the new regulation and the ongoing relationship between the betting industry and the regulators and legislators alongside Gillian Wilmott, chair of Senet Group and Ian Ince, the global head of regulatory and compliance affairs at Playtech.

There will also be a panel on the response of the product providers featuring John Pettit, managing director for the UK and Ireland at Playtech BGT, Phil Horne, managing director at SG Gaming and Paul Witten, product director at SIS.

The challenges facing the sector will also be assessed by a panel of analysts including Simon Davies from Canaccord Genuity, Gavin Kelleher from Goodbody Stockbrokers and Diane Wehrle, marketing and insights director at retail intelligence provider Springboard.

It is commonly believed the slated move to the £2 maximum stake, still a matter of debate within government, will challenge the UK bookmaking industry more than any other measure in the sector’s recent history.

“The UK’s retail betting sector continues to face heightened political and regulatory risks that have not been ended by the Triennial Review, and they will need to adapt and find new ways to achieve their aims.” said Andrew Gellatly, head of research at Gambling Compliance.

“For all that the anti-FOBT movement accused the bookmakers of using project fear tactics, the industry will certainly see huge changes in the years to come, not least when it comes to potential shop closures,” said Scott Longley from event organiser Clear Concise Media. “This event will be a chance for stakeholders to articulate and discuss how they think the sector can and will adapt.”

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