Online taxes to rise as FOBT stakes slashed to £2 despite evidence

Adjust Comment Print

Previously FOBTs allow punters to stake £100 every 20 seconds on electronic versions of casino games such as roulette, but in a low supervision high street bookie environment.

THE Bishop of St Albans, Dr Alan Smith, has said that the Government has made the "right decision" in announcing plans to limit the maximum stake on fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs) to £2.

Sports Minister Tracey Crouch said that a high number of people seeking treatment for addiction say FOBTs are "their main form of gambling".

They warned that it could cost thousands of jobs and lose the Treasury £1.1billion over three years.

William Hill is among the major operators signed up to the new rules on fair treatment of customers' money. Pic William Hill
Image William Hill fears takeover activity if its share price suffers because of FOBT reforms. Pic William Hill

Culture Secretary Matt Hancock said the government was "taking a stand" by imposing the dramatic 98 per cent cut on the amount which can be wagered and lost on fixed odds betting terminals (FOBTs).

He said: 'Fixed-odds betting terminals are a scourge on high streets that have taken advantage of the vulnerable for too long'.

The cross party group of MPs and Peers, published a report in January 2017, assessing the impact of FOBTs, and called for a substantial reduction in the maximum stake playable, stating that there was a strong case for this to be no more than £2.

The firm said 900 of its betting shops become loss-making, with a "proportion" at risk of closure after the new £2 limit comes into effect.

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". 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.

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.

The government also announced this morning that the Gambling Commission will toughen up protections around online gambling including tougher age verification rules and proposals to require operators to set limits on consumers' spending until affordability checks have been carried out.

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

The age limit for playing National Lottery games will also be reviewed as part of the next licence competition, with the government saying it was needed to take into account "developments in the market and the risk of harm to young people".

The government said the change would need parliamentary approval.