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

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

May 17 (Reuters) - Britain will cut the maximum stake on fixed-odds betting terminals to just two pounds after the government opted to try to tackle problem gambling and rejected claims that such a big reduction could cost thousands of jobs.

It is possible that the maximum stake will be change to £2.

In July previous year, The News joined forces with Portsmouth City Council to impose a restriction on FOBTs.

Matt Hancock, the digital, culture, media and sports minister, said that the Government had chosen to "take a stand", adding: "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".

The move follows lengthy consultations over the machines, dubbed the "crack cocaine of gambling" by critics due to their potentially addictive nature.

Newham has one of the highest concentrations of betting shops across London, with 81 across the borough and 12 on one street alone.

"It is really not acceptable to be able to walk in off the street and stake such a high amount with no checks or safeguards in place whatsoever".

CEO Philip Bowcock said: "William Hill has a long and proud heritage as part of the United Kingdom high street and we know how important betting shops are to our customers and their local economies".

Tracey Crouch, minister for sport and civil society, said: "Problem gambling can devastate individuals' lives, families and communities".

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The Labour MP Carolyn Harris, chair of a cross-party group on FOBTs, said she was "delighted" by the decision. "I am very glad the Government agrees that a £2 stake is an essential part of the solution".

25-year old Adam Bradford, who has campaigned for stricter gambling controls on FOBTs after his father hid a 30-year gambling addiction, has welcomed the decision.

But today's announcement has been met with concern by some bookmakers, who fear the move will result in store closures and job losses.

"It is right that we take decisive action now to ensure a responsible gambling industry that protects the most vulnerable in our society".

The Association of British Bookmakers (ABB) says that six million people use betting shops every year and that "the vast majority" of them gamble responsibly.

RSPH chief executive Shirley Cramer said: "Fixed Odd Betting Machines have blighted communities and caused untold damage to the public's health, increasing the risk of debt, poor mental health, breakdown of personal relationships and suicide".

Since Labour's 2005 Gambling Act the number of FOBTs - which offer casino-style games such as roulette - has increased from 20,000 to almost 35,000.

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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