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

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

The machines which have been dubbed the "crack cocaine of gambling" due to their addictive nature.

It added that the limit could result in around 900 of its high streets shops becoming loss-making.

But bookmakers have argued the dramatic cut could lead to the loss of jobs as well as revenue.

Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, added: "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 opposition Labour Party's deputy leader Tom Watson said on his Facebook page: "This announcement signals the end of the reign of destruction and misery that FOBTs have brought on the lives of gambling addicts and their families and communities for too many years".

She said: "Following analysis of the evidence received at consultation, £2 has been found to be the stake limit that would most substantially impact on harm by reducing the ability to suffer high session losses, while also targeting the greatest proportion of problem gamblers, and mitigating risk for the most vulnerable players for whom even moderate losses might be harmful".

There are over 8,788 betting shops in Britain and companies are allowed to install a maximum of four machines per shop.

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

Ahead of the government's decision, Mike Dixon, chief executive of drug and alcohol charity Addaction, said: 'This is a big and important change for many people we work with.

"We will continue to evolve our retail business in order to adapt to this change and we will support our colleagues as best we can".

"Matt Hancock deserves real credit for taking this decision".

The move comes off the back of a consultation with the public and the industry to ensure that we have the right balance between a sector that can grow and contribute to the economy and one that is socially responsible and doing all it should to protect consumers and communities.

The government also announced measures to tighten online betting protections and television advertising and raise awareness about potential harm.

The government also announced this morning that the Gambling Commission will toughen up protections around online gambling including tougher age verification rules and proposals to require operators to set limits on consumers' spending until affordability checks have been carried out.

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

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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