Friday, 17 August, 2018

Campaigners "delighted" by government decision to slash betting machine stakes to £2

Five reasons to buy The News on Thursday- including Jobs Five reasons to buy The News on Thursday- including Jobs
Ellis Copeland | 17 May, 2018, 14:06

Then there are the B2 games in which you could place a £100 stake, but can still only win £500 (your chances of winning are increased by the vastly increased stake).

In a statement on the United Kingdom government website today, Matt Hancock, secretary of state for the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS), commented: " When faced with the choice of halfway measures or doing everything we can to protect vulnerable people, we have chosen to take a stand.

The decision follows complaints that the machines, which enable people to bet up to 100 pounds ($135) every 20 seconds on electronic games such as roulette, were highly addictive and had led to gamblers building up big losses.

The government wants to reduce the potential for large losses on FOBT machines and the risk of harm to both the player and wider communities.

A review by the Gambling Commission in March had recommended a maximum stake of £30 or less for so-called non-slot machines such as roulette - by far the most popular FOBT game - but the government made a decision to go further.

New rules on fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs) - described as the "crack cocaine" of gambling - will come with tax rises on bookmakers.

GVC said in a statement that it welcomed the certainty provided by the announcement but was disappointed in he outcome, and said "an adequate implementation period" is needed to help prepare for the store closures that will arise. I am very glad the Government agrees that a £2 stake is an essential part of the solution.

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However, the move has prompted criticism from gambling companies, which have claimed the move puts thousands of jobs and hundreds of betting shops at risk.

She added: "Even cutting to £10 would leave problem gamblers, and those most vulnerable, exposed to losses that would cause them and their families significant harm".

This is a decision that puts player protection first, and will allow the gambling industry as a whole to move forwards and create a safer, more socially responsible environment for consumers.

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.

"It is also welcome to see that Public Health England will be looking into gambling related harm which simply doesn't have the support it now needs".

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.

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