United Kingdom cuts top stake on gambling machines to £2
United Kingdom cuts top stake on gambling machines to £2
The government is clamping down on the gambling machines
17 May, 2018, 17:31
"While we want a healthy gambling industry that contributes to the economy, we also need one that does all it can to protect players".
Matt Zarb-Cousin, a former FOBT addict and spokesperson for Fairer Gambling, said: "The work of [sports minister] Tracey Crouch and Carolyn Harris should be commended".
Fixed-odds betting terminals will have their maximum stakes limited to £2 in a crackdown on harm caused by excessive gambling, the government announced today.
The Association of British Bookmakers (ABB), which has previously opposed a possible crackdown on the industry, now warned that the decision would probably have a detrimental impact on the local bookmakers, with more than 4,000 betting outlets expected to close and about 21,000 employees in the industry set to lose their jobs.
FOBTs have been described as the "crack cocaine" of gambling, with their capacity to be played rapidly and repeatedly representing a serious addiction issue.
Currently, people can bet up to £100 every 20 seconds on electronic casino games such as roulette.
In February past year, the C of E's General Synod passed a resolution which began by recognition of "the destructive impact which accessible, high-stake machine gambling can have on families and whole communities and the widespread public concern about the very large amounts being wagered at fixed odds betting terminals located in high street betting shops".
Following the official resolution of the Government on the matter, the Chief Executive Officer of the UKGC Neil McArthur praised the authorities for the support given to customer protection measures and confirmed that the Commission is set to continue acting in terms of reducing the risks associated with gambling.
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The group said the stake cut could also hit annual earnings by between £70m and £100m.
In a statement, William Hill acknowledged that around 70% of its gaming machine revenue this year had been generated by stakes in excess of £2 and that as many as 900 of its shops (38% of all its retail space) could become "loss-making" after the changes are implemented. We are increasing protections around online gambling, doing more on research, education and treatment of problem gambling and ensuring tighter rules around gambling advertising.
"We will work with the industry on the impact of these changes and are confident that this innovative sector will step up and help achieve this balance".
- Responsible gambling messages to appear for the duration of all TV adverts.
Public Health England will carry out a review of the evidence relating to the public health harms of gambling.
- A review of age limits for National Lottery games at the time of the next licence competition.
The reduction will also be linked to an increase in Remote Gaming Duty, a tax paid by online gaming operators, in a bid to protect the amount of income government gets from the industry. "The offer for Ladbrokes Coral Group was structured to address the potential of a £2 max stake outcome and as such the strategic rationale for the acquisition remains unchanged".
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