Economy

Maximum stake on fixed-odds betting terminals could be reduced to £2

Maximum stake on fixed-odds betting terminals could be reduced to £2”

Bookmakers' profits could be set to take a massive hit as the government unveils plans to reduce the maximum stake on fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs) from £100 to between £2 and £50.

But bookmakers, whose £1.8bn income from the machines accounted for more than half of their revenues previous year, have played down links to problem gambling and are expected to lobby heavily against their nightmare scenario, a cut to £2.

The Association of British Bookmakers said moves to restrict FBOT's would cost the industry 20,000 jobs, Treasury's income from machine gaming duty was worth more than £700m past year.

Citing social responsibility concerns, the Government has given several proposals for the new staking level - £50/£30/£20 and £2 - and is now seeking views from stakeholders as to what would be a reasonable level.

He added that a cut in stakes to, say, £20 would not be enough, given the political support behind a £2 limit.

DCMS has asked for the assistance of the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) on machine customer protections with regards to better tracking and monitoring of play on FOBTs, securing "player interventions" and reviewing gameplay dynamics. Given more than half of the profits from United Kingdom betting shops are derived from FOBTs, the outcome will have a profound effect on the British gambling landscape.

William Hill said that it was pleased that the government recognised the industry's contribution to the wider economy.

Crouch said stake reduction was meant to "reduce the potential for large session losses and therefore to the potentially harmful impact on the player and their wider communities".

It will include TV adverts, including around live sport, as well as radio, cinema, online and print. The campaign will be funded by gambling operators, including online-only betting firms, with airspace and digital media provided by broadcasters.

Raising standards of player protection for online gambling, a responsible gambling campaign and new advertising guidelines are among a raft of suggestions created to help minimise the risk to vulnerable people and children.

All UK licensed gambling operators should step up on funding for research, education and treatment.

"It is vital that we strike the right balance between socially responsible growth and protecting the most vulnerable, including children, from gambling-related harm".

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

The consultation said: "We think that the weight of evidence justifies government action on B2 machines, but we acknowledge that there is limited evidence to inform exactly at what level the revised maximum stake should be".

"In the meantime, we are strengthening existing protections relating to online gambling and outlining a package of measures on gambling advertising to minimise the risk to the most vulnerable".



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