Published: Thu, May 17, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

Britain slashes top stake on gambling machines to £2

Britain slashes top stake on gambling machines to £2

The move follows lengthy consultations over the machines, dubbed the "crack cocaine of gambling" by critics due to their potentially addictive nature.

It comes after experts warned reducing the maximum stake to £2 would be "catastrophic" for the market.

Bookmaker William Hill, which generates just over half its retail revenues from FOBTs, described the United Kingdom government's decision as "unprecedented" and warned that 900 of its shops could become loss-making, potentially leading to job losses.

Ms Crouch 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".

In a statement on the United Kingdom government website today, Matt Hancock, secretary of state for the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS), commented: " When faced with the choice of halfway measures or doing everything we can to protect vulnerable people, we have chosen to take a stand.

The country's Gambling Commission had already called in March for the maximum stake to be cut to no more than £30.

Brian Chappell of Justice for Punters said: 'This is fantastic news.

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

This is a decision that puts player protection first, and will allow the gambling industry as a whole to move forwards and create a safer, more socially responsible environment for consumers. William Hill said that half of its retail revenues came from FOBTs and that 900 of its shops could make losses and face closure as a result of the rule change.

The Government has also tasked the Gambling Commission to hold talks with the industry on potential limits on spend and time on other so-called B1 and B3 gambling machines in casinos and arcades.

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

It also confirmed a raft of measures to clamp down on the sector, including plans to toughen up protections around online gambling, such as introducing stronger age verification rules and affordability checks.

The Government said it will fund the crackdown through an increase in remote gaming duty.

However, following a review into the machines, Ms Crouch said FOBTs were "an outlier in the world of high-street gambling because of the speed with which it is possible to lose large amounts of money".

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