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Government confirms FOBT maximum stake cut from £100 to £2

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Government confirms FOBT maximum stake cut from £100 to £2 17th May 2018

The Government has today confirmed it will be reducing the maximum FOBT stake to £2.


The move comes off the back of a consultation with the public and the industry to ensure that we have the right balance between a sector that can grow and contribute to the economy and one that is socially responsible and doing all it should to protect consumers and communities.


DCMS Secretary of State Matt Hancock said: “When faced with the choice of halfway measures or doing everything we can to protect vulnerable people, we have chosen to take a stand. These machines are a social blight and prey on some of the most vulnerable in society, and we are determined to put a stop to it and build a fairer society for all.”


Minister for Sport and Civil Society Tracey Crouch said: “Problem gambling can devastate individuals’ lives, families and communities. It is right that we take decisive action now to ensure a responsible gambling industry that protects the most vulnerable in our society. By reducing FOBT stakes to £2 we can help stop extreme losses by those who can least afford it.


“While we want a healthy gambling industry that contributes to the economy, we also need one that does all it can to protect players. 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.”


But bookmakers have warned it could lead to thousands of outlets closing.


Research by KPMG has estimated a £2 limit would cut revenue for the Treasury by £1.1bn over three years, an annual loss of £45m to local authorities and £50m to British racing.


Betting firm William Hill, makes just over half its retail revenues from FOBTs.


Its chief executive, Philip Bowcock, has told the BBC that a £2 FOBT limit would have a devastating impact on the High Street betting industry, with up to half of Britain's betting shops facing threat of closure and about 20,000 jobs going.


Ms Crouch said: "We recognise the potential impact of this change for betting shops which depend on (FOBT) revenues, but also that this is an industry that is innovative and able to adapt to changes."


In addition to the reduction to FOBT stakes the government has today confirmed:


• The Gambling Commission will toughen up protections around online gambling including stronger age verification rules and proposals to require operators to set limits on consumers’ spending until affordability checks have been conducted.


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


• The Industry Group for Responsible Gambling (IGRG) has amended its code to ensure that a responsible gambling message will 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.


• As part of the next licence competition the age limit for playing National Lottery games will be reviewed, to take into accounts developments in the market and the risk of harm to young people.

Source: DCMS

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