Maximum stake on bookies fixed-odds betting terminals cut to £2
The UK government is to introduce new rules to govern the terminals which are found in may betting shops.
Currently, you can bet up to £100 every 20 seconds on Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs).
New rules will see the maximum stake reduce to £2 in a bid to minimise the risk of gambling-related harm, Minister for Sport and Civil Society Tracey Crouch announced today.
The move follows a consultation with the public and the industry, the government says it wants to reduce the potential for large losses on FOBT machines and the risk of harm to both the player and wider communities.
‘Following analysis of consultation responses and advice from the Gambling Commission, the government believes that a cut to £2 will best achieve this.’ A spokesperson has said.
Figures published by stopthefobts.org show Deeside punters put nearly £7.5m into the high stakes machines in 2016.
Over £10m was inserted into 75 FOBT’s spread across 21 Flintshire betting shops in 2016 with punters losing around £2.5m, over half of that was in Deeside where between 2008 and 2016 nearly £10m has been lost in FOTB’s.
Alyn and Deeside MP Mark Tami has spoken out against FOBT’s on several occasions, during a Westminster debate he said;
“It’s frightening how much money can be lost on these machines in such a short space of time.
It’s very concerning that these machines are disproportionately found in the poorer parts of society and therefore are having a devastating effect on some of the most vulnerable in society.
More needs to be done to introduce regulations on fixed odds betting terminals and also online gambling. It’s sad that huge profits seem to be of more importance than the wellbeing of the most vulnerable.”
The Association of British Bookmakers (ABB) warned the move will be a “hammer blow” to High Street bookmakers and threaten thousands of jobs.
The ABB said a report which paved the way for the new £2 rules was “deeply flawed” and had been funded by commercial rivals of Britain’s bookmakers.
Bookmaker William Hill said it will see a reduction in total gaming net revenue of 35%-45% following the move.
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.
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.
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.
Changes to the FOBT’s maximum limit will need parliamentary approval.
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