Gambling machines to be limited to £2 stakes

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

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

Civil society minister Tracey Crouch, who is MP for Chatham and Aylesford, said the machines were being curtailed to "stop extreme losses by those who can least afford it".

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 move follows a Government review into gambling machines.

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".

But anti-gambling campaigners have condemned them and say they let players lose money too quickly, leading to addiction and social, mental and financial problems. "Of course, there is more work to be done, but the Government has made the right decision. Today's move will have a short-term impact on our business, but we think it's a really important step towards building a sustainable industry". It vowed to engage with the gambling industry to ensure it was given sufficient time to implement and complete the technological changes.

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The Gambling Commission will toughen up protections around online gambling including stronger age verification rules and proposals to require operators to set limits on consumers' spending until affordability checks have been conducted.

The campaign has secured the widespread support with the General Synod of the Church of England, 93 local authorities, the Royal Society for Public Health and politicians from all parties supporting the campaign.

As part of the next licence competition the age limit for playing National Lottery games will be reviewed, to take into accounts developments in the market and the risk of harm to young people. "The offer for Ladbrokes Coral Group was structured to address the potential of a £2 max stake outcome and as such the strategic rationale for the acquisition remains unchanged".

Changes to the stake will need to be brought through leglislation and will need to be approved by parliament.

The Clwyd South Labour MP, who is a member of the All Party Parliamentary Group for action on Fixed Odds Betting Terminals, has questioned Government Ministers in the House of Commons about gambling machines where £100 can be lost in a single stake. Will B3 profile games take the strain?

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