Oldham MP welcomes action on Fixed Betting Terminals

Oldham MP welcomes action on Fixed Betting Terminals

Now gamblers can bet, and lose, £100 every 20 seconds meaning potentially thousands of pounds in a single session.

Bookmakers have previously claimed moves to slash the maximum stake on FOBTs would lead to the loss of thousands of jobs in the industry.

"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", Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Sport, said in a statement on Thursday.

Media captionWhat are fixed odds betting terminals?

According to the latest Gambling Commission data, there are over 182,000 gaming machines in Britain with Ladbrokes Coral-parent GVC, William Hill and Paddy Power Betfair generating a large chunk of their retail revenue from these machines.

The government has not revealed what level it plans to raise the online tax to at this November's Budget, but an increase to 20% from the current 15% would appear to be the minimum, and it may opt for parity with the existing Machine Gaming Duty of 25%.

But the Association of British Bookmakers (ABB) said: "This is a decision that will have far-reaching implications for betting shops on the high street".

Figures published by stopthefobts.org show that there are 57 FOBTs in 16 betting shops in Wrexham; with over £8m inserted into the machines locally in 2016. It added that the limit could result in around 900 of its high streets shops becoming loss-making.

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Kenneth Alexander, CEO of GVC Holdings, said: "Although we are ultimately disappointed with the outcome of the Triennial Review, it is a decision we accept".

"Problem gambling can devastate individuals' lives, families and communities".

She said: "Following analysis of the evidence received at consultation, £2 has been found to be the stake limit that would most substantially impact on harm by reducing the ability to suffer high session losses, while also targeting the greatest proportion of problem gamblers, and mitigating risk for the most vulnerable players for whom even moderate losses might be harmful".

Measures announced by the government also included tougher rules for internet gambling, including proposals on age verification limits on consumers' spending.

Changes to the stake will need to be brought through leglislation and will need to be approved by parliament.

The measure, which requires parliamentary approval, is being taken for the controversial Category B2 machines following a consultation involving the public and the gambling industry.

A major, multi-million pound advertising campaign promoting responsible gambling will launch later this year, while the Industry Group for Responsible Gambling has amended its code to ensure responsible gambling messages appear for the duration of all television gambling adverts.

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