The new £2 maximum stake limit on fixed odds betting terminals (FOBTs) has come into force in the United Kingdom.

As of today (1 April), the maximum stake that can be offered on fixed odds betting terminals, also known as Category B2 machines, will drop from £100 to £2 per spin.

The cut to the maximum stake is aimed at reducing the problem gambling risks associated with the machines.

Ahead of today's implementation, the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) wrote to licensed bookmakers to remind them of their consumer protection responsibilities . 

“We have been closely monitoring operators’ plans to manage the implementation of the stake cut and we will continue to watch very carefully to ensure that any changes and developments to these products are done with a focus on customer safety,” said UKGC chief executive Neil McArthur.

“Together with Government and the industry we must continue our ongoing work to make the whole industry safer - this includes continuing to make progress with making other products safer, as customers may move to gamble in other ways following the stake cut – including online, mobile and on the high street. 

“It’s imperative that operators invest in and use data, technology and measures to identify harmful play and can step in to protect players when needed. They should be innovating to protect their customers, as much as they do to make a profit,” he said.

Jeremy Wright, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, added: “Reducing the potential loss per spin from £100 to £2 is a significant step forward in protecting vulnerable people.

“The Government's actions and ambitions stretch much further and we are looking at further treatment of those who have suffered from gambling-related harm, whether gambling on credit should be limited and considering what actions are necessary to tackle problem gambling online."

The UKGC has also confirmed that it is looking closely at player protection options on other high street gaming machines, citing data which indicated that the risks associated with Category B1 and B3 machines merit “close scrutiny”.

These options include tracking play, using time and monetary limits and alerts, and communicating messages about responsible gambling. 

Next month the regulator is tightening up rules for online gambling, with new identity and age check rules coming into force in May, which will guard against the risk of children gambling, prevent children from playing free-to-play versions of gambling games on licensees’ websites, and increase the likelihood that someone will be identified if they attempt to gamble while self-excluded.

The UKGC is also currently examining new areas for potential change, including banning the use of credit cards for online gambling, the introduction of industry funded gambling blocking software, and improving the ways in which operators interact with customers who may be experiencing gambling-related harm.

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