United Kingdom cuts top stake on gambling machines to £2

Galtero Lara
May 17, 2018

New rules will see the maximum stake reduce to £2 in a bid to minimise the risk of gambling-related harm, Minister for Sport and Civil Society Tracey Crouch announced today.

The Gambling Commission has also been tasked to take forward discussions with the industry to improve player protection measures on B1 and B3 category machines, looking at spend and time limits.

The maximum stake on fixed odds betting terminals will be cut to £2 from the current £100, the United Kingdom said today.

Figures published by stopthefobts.org show Deeside punters put almost £7.5m into the high stakes machines in 2016.

It's very concerning that these machines are disproportionately found in the poorer parts of society and therefore are having a devastating effect on some of the most vulnerable in society.

A review by the Gambling Commission in March had recommended a maximum stake of £30 or less for so-called non-slot machines such as roulette - by far the most popular FOBT game - but the government made a decision to go further. "It's sad that huge profits seem to be of more importance than the wellbeing of the most vulnerable".

The move will curtail a major source of revenue for high street bookmakers and will potentially put jobs at risk.

Sports minister Tracey Crouch said: "Problem gambling can devastate individuals' lives, families and communities".

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William Hill said the changes presented a "tough challenge" and could result in around 900 shops - around 38% of its store estate - becoming loss-making and a "proportion" at risk of being closed, with gaming net revenues expected to fall by 35-45%.

The government said on Thursday it had sought to ensure the gambling industry could grow and contribute to the economy while also remaining socially responsible. We will work with the industry on the impact of these changes and are confident that this innovative sector will step up and help achieve this balance.

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

- Responsible gambling messages to appear for the duration of all TV adverts.

Public Health England will carry out a review of the evidence relating to the public health harms of gambling.

- A review of age limits for National Lottery games at the time of the next licence competition.

In order to cover any negative impact on the public finances, and to protect funding for vital public services, this change will be linked to an increase in Remote Gaming Duty, paid by online gaming operators, at the relevant Budget.

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