Backdown of FOBT’s max stakes coming sooner rather than later
Fixed Odds Betting Terminals, also known as FOBT’s, have hit the headlines many times this year and are considered to be the crack cocaine of gambling addiction, which led to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport to cut the max stake of the machines from £100 to just £2 – obviously, the bookies weren’t happy with this.
FOBT’s Max Stakes Coming Sooner Rather Than Later
Pro-gambling MP Philip Davies, held secret meetings and successfully secured a delay to curb max stakes on FOBT’s, which then led to Tracey Crouch resigning as sports minister. But the resignation sparked a revolt, which led to 12 Tory MP’s sending a letter to the chief whip to put pressure on the government. As a result, the Prime Minister had no other option but to bow to pressure, even if it did make her look like a fool.
The changes will come into effect in April 2019 instead of October 2019, which will cost the bookies in excess of £900m.
Tracey Crouch was the driving force behind securing the curb on the gambling machines, took to Twitter to express her joy;
“I am pleased that the common sense has prevailed. Dealing with the harms of Fixed Offs Betting Terminals by reducing the stake from £100 to £2 was not the only important recommendation of the Gambling Review published in May, but it was one which many people cared enormously about. The harm from these addictive machines is well publicised and I felt humbled to have met many brave people who over the 3-year review process came forward and told me their stories or those of their loved ones who had sadly taken their lives.”
“It was right for the government to take the decision to act and the impact assessment published alongside the Gambling Review made it clear that there was an expectation to implement the reduction in FOBT stakes within 9 to 12 months, with April 2019 being the most appropriate to tie in with the fiscal changes anywhere. The initial decision to delay the implementation until October 2019, nearly 18 months after the review was published, based on a KPMG report for the industry that was given a disclaimer by its own authors, discredited by some in the bookmaking industry and in fact did not get men6tioned in the Gambling Review, was not a policy I was able to defend, hence my resignation.”
“I am sorry that my views as the Minister in charge of the policy were not heard, but I am delighted that the collective voice of Parliamentarians, faith leader, victims of gambling addiction and their families, press and media commentators and many members of the public have been. This is the right and sensible on FOBTs and will, without doubt, reduce harm from these machines on our high streets. There is however, much more t be done on reducing gambling related harm online, dealing with advertising and supporting our treatment services which the Review makes various recommendations on and I look forward to watching it from afar their progress with interest.”
“In the meantime, I would like to thank everyone for their kind messages of support since my resignation. It has meant a lot.”