Britain slashes top stake on gambling machines to £2

Marcus Newton
May 17, 2018

THE Bishop of St Albans, Dr Alan Smith, has said that the Government has made the "right decision" in announcing plans to limit the maximum stake on fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs) to £2.

Figures published by stopthefobts.org show that there are 57 FOBTs in 16 betting shops in Wrexham; with over £8m inserted into the machines locally in 2016. "It is really not acceptable to be able to walk in off the street and stake such a high amount with no checks or safeguards in place whatsoever".

Bookmakers are nervously awaiting an official announcement on whether the United Kingdom government will slash the amount people can stake on fixed-odds betting terminals.

But the machines are blamed for addiction, crime, debt, violence and family breakdown and their users are concentrated in some of the poorest communities.

A reduced limit of £2 would be welcomed by anti-gambling campaigners, who have described the games the "crack cocaine" of the betting world.

The Association of British Bookmakers (ABB) warned the move will be a "hammer blow" to High Street bookmakers and threaten thousands of jobs.

But the shift to £2 was backed by council leaders, church groups, charities, gambling campaigners and MPs from across the political spectrum.

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The biggest wager for popular fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs), which allow gamblers to bet every 20 seconds, will be cut sharply from £100, the department for digital, culture, media and sport announced.

Bookmakers have previously claimed moves to slash the maximum stake on FOBTs would lead to the loss of thousands of jobs in the industry.

"Problem gambling can devastate individuals' lives, families and communities", said sports minister Tracey Crouch.

A major multi-million pound advertising campaign promoting responsible gambling, supported by industry and GambleAware, will be launched later this year.

Public Health England will carry out a review of the evidence relating to the public health harms of gambling.

The age limit for playing National Lottery games will also be reviewed as part of the next licence competition, with the government saying it was needed to take into account "developments in the market and the risk of harm to young people". The move will need parliamentary approval and we will also engage with the gambling industry to ensure it is given sufficient time to implement and complete the technological changes.

To cover any hit to the public finances, the government said the change will be linked to an increase in remote gaming duty, paid by online gaming operators, at the relevant Budget.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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