Legal & Regulatory News

The UK government has brought forward the implementation date for the reduction in stakes on fixed odds betting terminals (FOBTs) to April 2019.

The maximum stake per spin on FOBTs was initially due to be cut from £100 per spin to £2 next April but was delayed to October in last month’s Budget. That decision led the UK minister for sport and civil society Tracey Crouch to resign.

Culture secretary Jeremy Wright confirmed the government’s climbdown Wednesday afternoon in a written statement to MPs, after facing a growing rebellion from Ministers who supported an amendment to the UK Finance Bill which would have forced the government to change its mind.

In a statement Crouch said that “common sense has prevailed.”

“The initial decision to delay that implementation until October 2019, nearly 18 months after the review was published, based on a KPMG report for the industry that was given a disclaimer by its own authors, discredited by some on the bookmaking industry and in fact did not get mentioned in the Gambling Review [published in May], was not a policy I was able to defend, hence my resignation,” Crouch said.

“I am sorry that my views as the Minister in charge of the policy were not heard, but I am delighted that the collective voice of Parliamentarians, faith leaders, victims of gambling addiction and their families, press and media commentators and many members of the public have been.

“This is right and sensible on FOBTs and will, without doubt, reduce harm from these machines on our high streets. There is however much more to be done on reducing gambling related harm online, dealing with advertising and supporting our treatment services which the Review makes various recommendations on and I look forward to watching from afar their progress with interest.”