Betting machine stakes cut to 2

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Media caption Exactly what are fixed-odds betting terminals?

The utmost stake on fixed-odds betting ports (FOBTs) will be reduced to £ 2 under new rules revealed by the government.

Presently, people can bet up to £ 100 every 20 seconds upon electronic casino games such as roulette.

Culture Secretary He Hancock called the machines “a serious social blight” that “needs to become tackled”.

But bookies have warned the cut can result in thousands of outlets closing.

FOBTs generate £ 1 . 8bn in revenue a year for the gambling industry, according to the Gambling Commission , plus taxes of £ 400m for that government.

The Section for Digital, Culture, Media plus Sport said that in order to “cover any kind of negative impact on the public finances” it will increase the Remote Gaming Duty, that is levied against online casino-type video games such as blackjack.

The present rate operators must pay is usually 15% compared with a 25% taxes on FOBTs. The government will mention the rise in the Budget.

‘Political decision’

William Hill, which generates approximately half its retail revenues through FOBTs, described the £ two stake limit as “unprecedented” plus warned that 900 of its stores could become loss-making, potentially resulting in job losses.

This said its full-year operating revenue could fall by between £ 70m and £ 100m.

Mr Hancock mentioned: “Sometimes in politics you have the opportunity to really do something to help people plus, in particular, this case to help very vulnerable people – hundreds of thousands of individuals who lose thousands of pounds on these types of machines. ”

Yet Betfred’s managing director Mark Stebbings claimed the government had “played national politics with people’s jobs” and the proceed was “clearly not evidence centered but a political decision”.

“This decision can lead to unintended consequences including direct plus indirect job losses, empty stores on the High Street, and a massive financing hit for the horseracing industry. inch

Sports Minister Tracey Stoop said: “We respect and realize that this may have an impact on jobs within bookmakers… we are working closely using the industry [for them] in order to grow and contribute to the economic climate. ”

The federal government said the stake limit stomach into effect some time next year, yet would not set an exact timetable.

Tom Watson, the darkness culture secretary, told the BBC: “The great tragedy of this is certainly [that] for 5 years now pretty much everyone within Westminster, Whitehall and in the country offers known that these machines have had an extremely detrimental effect in communities down and up the land. ”


Analysis

by Amol Rajan, BBC media editor

Image copyright PA

In taking the the majority of drastic of the options available to them upon FOBTs, the government has indicated that will gambling is on a journey similar to nicotine a generation ago.

Many addictive behaviours graph the same course. First, they are generally accepted, then victims speak out there and a campaign is launched. Lastly, new laws catch up with a change in public sentiment.

Market figures argue that what is at stake is not just jobs and revenues for the Armory, but the principle that in a free of charge society fully informed adults needs to be free to spend their money because they choose, so long as it doesn’t harm other people.

Campaigners have effectively argued that the harm to communities plus individuals is severe enough in order to warrant a major change.

It’s vital to remember that, while FOBTs understandably grab the headlines, this particular review also looks at the major shift of the industry online.

There many addicts which find there is no respite, and kids with smartphones are potentially uncovered.

Tighter regulation associated with online gambling is the next fight campaigners intend to win.


The government’s appointment into gambling machines found regularly high rates of problem bettors among players of FOBTs “and a high proportion of those seeking therapy for gambling addiction identify these types of machines as their main form of gambling”.

Anti-gambling campaigners possess condemned the machines, saying these people let players lose money too quickly, resulting in addiction and social, mental plus financial problems.

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Media caption Terry White lost up to £ fifteen, 000 per day on fixed-odds wagering terminals

Matt Zarb-Cousin is now the spokesman for the Campaign for Fairer Gambling but was previously addicted to FOBTs.

“It’s simply no exaggeration to call FOBTs the particular crack cocaine of gambling, inch he has told the BBC.

“If we had the gambling product classification, similar to those of drugs, FOBTs would be class The. ”

William Hill chief executive Philip Bowcock, said: “The government provides handed us a tough challenge nowadays and it will take some time for the full effect to be understood. ”

GVC Holdings, which owns Ladbrokes, said it expected profit to become cut by about £ 160m within the first full year that the £ 2 limit is in force.

However , Peter Jackson, leader at Paddy Power Betfair, made welcome the government intervention, saying his corporation had been concerned that FOBTs had been damaging the reputation of the betting industry.

The Uk Horseracing Authority (BHA), which gets millions of pounds from bookmakers via a levy, said it would work carefully with the government to respond the decision.


Issue gambling

FOBTs are not the only causes when it comes to problem gambling.

A survey conducted simply by social research agency NatCen discovered the top five activities with the greatest proportions of problem gamblers had been:

  • Spread betting, exactly where bets are placed on whether a good outcome will be above or beneath an offered range (20. 1%)
  • Betting exchanges, where your wager on the outcome of an event is matched up with someone with the opposing wager (16. 2%)
  • Playing poker within pubs or clubs (15. 9%)
  • Betting on events with a bookmaker, not online (15. 5%)
  • Actively playing machines in bookmakers, including FOBTs (11. 5%)

The most popular types of betting in the country – National Lottery pulls, other lotteries and scratchcards — are associated with the lowest levels of issue gambling.