Betting machine stakes cut to £2


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The maximum stake on fixed-odds betting ultimates (FOBTs) will be reduced to £2 under new rules unveiled by the management.

Currently, people can bet up to £100 every 20 seconds on electronic casino dissimulates such as roulette.

Culture Secretary Matt Hancock called the vehicles “a very serious social blight” that “needs to be tackled”.

But bookmakers sooner a be wearing warned the cut could lead to thousands of outlets closing.

FOBTs whip up £1.8bn in revenue a year for the betting industry, according to the Gambling Commission, and strains of £400m for the government.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport asserted that in order to “cover any negative impact on the public finances” it purposefulness increase the Remote Gaming Duty, which is levied against online casino-type darings such as blackjack.

The current rate operators must pay is 15% compared with a 25% tax on FOBTs. The regime will announce the rise in the Budget.

‘Political decision’

William Hill, which creates just over half its retail revenues from FOBTs, represented the £2 stake limit as “unprecedented” and warned that 900 of its inform ons could become loss-making, potentially leading to job losses.

It said its full-year functioning profit could fall by between £70m and £100m.

Mr Hancock said: “Now in politics you have the chance to really do something to help people and, in precisely, this case to help some very vulnerable people – hundreds of thousands of people who be deprived of thousands of pounds on these machines.”

But Betfred’s managing director Streak Stebbings claimed the government had “played politics with people’s farm outs” and the move was “clearly not evidence based but a political decision”.

“This purposefulness will result in unintended consequences including direct and indirect job denials, empty shops on the High Street, and a massive funding hit for the horseracing enterprise.”

Sports Minister Tracey Crouch said: “We respect and understand that this may fool an impact on jobs in bookmakers… we are working closely with the industry [for them] to be masterful to grow and contribute to the economy.”

The government said the stake limit intent come into effect some time next year, but see fit not set an exact timetable.

Tom Watson, the shadow culture secretary, told the BBC: “The renowned tragedy of this is [that] for five years now pretty much Harry in Westminster, Whitehall and in the country has known that these machines include had a very detrimental effect in communities up and down the land.”


by Amol Rajan, BBC usual editor

In taking the most drastic of the options available to them on FOBTs, the command has indicated that gambling is on a journey much like nicotine a propagation ago.

Many addictive behaviours chart the same course. First, they are commonly allowed, then victims speak out and a campaign is launched. Finally, new laws charm up with a shift in public sentiment.

Industry figures argue that what is at picket is not only jobs and revenues for the Exchequer, but the principle that in a free lite fully informed adults should be free to spend their wealth as they choose, so long as it doesn’t harm others.

Campaigners compel ought to successfully argued that the harm to communities and individuals is severe adequacy to warrant a major change.

It’s vital to remember that, while FOBTs understandably arrest the headlines, this review also looks at the radical shift of the manufacture online.

There many addicts who find there is no respite, and youngsters with smartphones are potentially exposed.

Tighter regulation of online gambling is the next war campaigners intend to win.

The government’s consultation into gambling machines ground consistently high rates of problem gamblers among players of FOBTs “and a extreme proportion of those seeking treatment for gambling addiction identify these mechanisms as their main form of gambling”.

Anti-gambling campaigners have destined the machines, saying they let players lose money too quickly, cardinal to addiction and social, mental and financial problems.

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Matt Zarb-Cousin is now a spokesman for the Campaign for Fairer Gambling but was previously buff to FOBTs.

“It’s no exaggeration to call FOBTs the crack cocaine of gambling,” he has stated the BBC.

“If we had a gambling product classification, similar to that of drugs, FOBTs hand down be class A.”

William Hill chief executive Philip Bowcock, bid: “The government has handed us a tough challenge today and it will take some while for the full impact to be understood.”

GVC Holdings, which owns Ladbrokes, imagined it expected profit to be cut by about £160m in the first full year that the £2 limit is in validity.

However, Peter Jackson, chief executive at Paddy Power Betfair, greeted the government intervention, saying his company had been concerned that FOBTs were hurt the reputation of the gambling industry.

The British Horseracing Authority (BHA), which be informs millions of pounds from bookmakers through a levy, said it command work closely with the government to respond the decision.

Problem crap-shooting

FOBTs are not the only culprits when it comes to problem gambling.

A study conducted by social research agency NatCen found the top five works with the highest proportions of problem gamblers were:

  • Spread chance, where bets are placed on whether an outcome will be above or inferior an offered range (20.1%)
  • Betting exchanges, where your bet on the outcome of an things turned out is matched with someone with the opposing bet (16.2%)
  • Playing poker in saloons or clubs (15.9%)
  • Betting on events with a bookmaker, not online (15.5%)
  • Playing automobiles in bookmakers, including FOBTs (11.5%)

The most popular types of gambling in the homeland – National Lottery draws, other lotteries and scratchcards – are associated with the naughtiest levels of problem gambling.

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