Tuesday, 11 December, 2018

Maximum stake on bookies fixed-odds betting terminals cut to £2

Maximum stakes on'crack cocaine fixed odd machines slashed from £100 to £2 William Hill said it will jeopardise 20,000 British jobs
Melinda Barton | 17 May, 2018, 13:18

The move follows lengthy consultations over the machines, dubbed the "crack cocaine of gambling" by critics due to their potentially addictive nature.

Sports Minister Tracey Crouch said reducing the stake to £2 "will reduce harm for the most vulnerable".

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 opposition Labour Party's deputy leader Tom Watson said on his Facebook page: "This announcement signals the end of the reign of destruction and misery that FOBTs have brought on the lives of gambling addicts and their families and communities for too many years".

"When faced with the choice of halfway measures or doing everything we can to protect vulnerable people, we have chosen to take a stand". It is right that we take decisive action now to ensure a responsible gambling industry that protects the most vulnerable in our society.

The Gambling Commission's consultation on FOBTs for the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) recommended a limit of up to £30.

Previously FOBTs allow punters to stake £100 every 20 seconds on electronic versions of casino games such as roulette, but in a low supervision high street bookie environment.

William Hill said the new regulation could lead to a 35 to 45 per cent reduction in annual total gaming net revenue. William Hill said that half of its retail revenues came from FOBTs and that 900 of its shops could make losses and face closure as a result of the rule change.

- The Gambling Commission to toughen up protections around online gambling including stronger age verification rules and proposals for customer spending limits.

A major, multi-million pound advertising campaign promoting responsible gambling will launch later this year, while the Industry Group for Responsible Gambling has amended its code to ensure responsible gambling messages appear for the duration of all television gambling adverts.

However, following a review into the machines, Ms Crouch said FOBTs were "an outlier in the world of high-street gambling because of the speed with which it is possible to lose large amounts of money".

In order to cover any negative impact on the public finances, and to protect funding for vital public services, this change will be linked to an increase in Remote Gaming Duty, paid by online gaming operators, at the relevant Budget.