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UK slashes maximum stake on gambling machines to £2

17 May 2018

The UK Government will be announcing new rules for fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs) later to restrict the amount of money people can gamble.

More needs to be done to introduce regulations on fixed odds betting terminals and also online gambling.

People can now bet up to £100 every 20 seconds on electronic casino games like roulette. Use of FOBTs has been linked to crime, debt, family breakdown and mental illness; the Centre for Economic and Business Research think tank estimates that it costs the country £1.5 billion a year.

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.

According to the government, the move will cut the risk of potentially large financial losses from the controversial machines as well as harm to both players and wider communities.

Sports Minister Tracey Crouch said reducing the stake to £2 "will reduce harm for the most vulnerable".

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.

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

Minister for sport and civil society Tracey Crouch
Minister for sport and civil society Tracey Crouch

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

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

The government's action, which marks the biggest regulatory change in the United Kingdom gambling industry since rules were liberalised in 2005, was welcomed by charities, the church and opposition politicians. It said that the limit could result in around 900 of its high streets shops becoming loss-making.

- The Gambling Commission to toughen up protections around online gambling including stronger age verification rules and proposals for customer spending limits.

It pledged to work with the gambling sector to ensure it has sufficient time to introduce the stake reduction and technological changes.

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

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UK slashes maximum stake on gambling machines to £2