Fixed odds betting stakes could be lowered from £100 to £2

Bookies brace for big hit as Government caps FOBT stakes at £2

Ministers vow to 'protect the vulnerable' by slashing maximum stake on 'crack cocaine' gambling machines from £100 to £2

"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".

When faced with the choice of halfway measures or doing everything we can to protect vulnerable people, we have chosen to take a stand.

The government announced this morning that the maximum stakes on fixed odds betting terminals are to be cut from £100 to £2 to clamp down on the risk of "gambling-related harm".

The betting terminals, previously described as the "crack cocaine of gambling", have been controversial for the huge losses that can be built up in a short space of time.

'Following analysis of consultation responses and advice from the Gambling Commission, the government believes that a cut to £2 will best achieve this.' A spokesperson has said.

Matt Zarb-Cousin, a former FOBT addict and spokesperson for Fairer Gambling, said: "The work of [sports minister] Tracey Crouch and Carolyn Harris should be commended".

The cross party group of MPs and Peers published a report in January 2017, assessing the impact of FOBTs, and called for a substantial reduction in the maximum stake playable, stating that there was a strong case for this to be no more than £2.

In February previous year, the C of E's General Synod passed a resolution which began by recognition of "the destructive impact which accessible, high-stake machine gambling can have on families and whole communities and the widespread public concern about the very large amounts being wagered at fixed odds betting terminals located in high street betting shops".

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The decision follows complaints that the machines, which enable people to bet up to 100 pounds ($135) every 20 seconds on electronic games such as roulette, were highly addictive and had led to gamblers building up big losses.

Share price reactions following the FOBT news would suggest that investors aren't overly anxious, or perhaps they haven't acknowledged the new risk.

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 main objective of the FOBTs review was to make sure that the right balance is found between a constantly growing sector and social responsibility under which local customers and communities are to be protected from harm.

The Bishop of St Albans, Alan Smith, today welcomed the Government's announcement.

A multimillion-pound advertising campaign promoting responsible gambling, supported by the industry and GambleAware, will be launched later this year, it added.

- A Public Health England review of the public health harms of gambling.

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%.

Changes to the stake will be through secondary legislation.

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