Maximum Betting Stakes Capped at £2
The Government has finally relented under pressure and capped the maximum stake at fixed odds betting terminals at £2.
Before now, gamblers could bet up to £100 every 20 seconds. The government decision comes off the back of the Campaign for Fairer Gambling, and the decision will be implemented at some point next year.
Predictably, the bookies are not pleased. Betfred's managing director Mark Stabbings said that "This decision will result in unintended consequences including direct and indirect job losses, empty shops on the High Street, and a massive funding hit for the horseracing industry." While William Hill decried the decision as “unprecedented.”
What the bookies don’t say is that for every £1 billion wasted on FOBTs, 21,000 jobs are lost, according to research from Landman economics. The machines are targeted at areas with high unemployment and joblessness, and have a deleterious impact on public health.
Matt Zarb-Cousin, who was once a press spokesperson for Jeremy Corbyn played a key role in the campaign. A former gambling addict himself, his moving testimony helped rally political action on this social blight.
A spokesperson for Fairer Gambling said: “Allowing high stakes roulette machines in such an easily accessible environment has had disastrous consequences, impacting levels of gambling related harm and crime.
“The government’s decision to cut the stake back to £2 is the right one, and we commend the work of Tracey Crouch, the Minister who pushed for this review, and Carolyn Harris, who led the All Party Group against FOBTs.
The evidence shows this policy will reduce harm for those experiencing it, and eliminate the most addictive roulette content, significantly reducing problem gambling associated with FOBTs.”