Fixed odds betting machines maximum stake slashed to £2

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

'By reducing FOBT stakes to £2 we can help stop extreme losses by those who can least afford it.

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.

The British Horseracing Authority "welcomed the Government's determination to address the issues raised by problem gambling" after it was announced maximum stakes on fixed-odds betting terminals will be limited to £2.

Over £10m was inserted into 75 FOBT's spread across 21 Flintshire betting shops in 2016 with punters losing around £2.5m, over half of that was in Deeside where between 2008 and 2016 almost £10m has been lost in FOTB's.

Tom Watson, deputy leader of the Labour party and shadow secretary of state for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, told the BBC's Today programme: "For five years now pretty much everyone in Westminster, Whitehall and in the country has known that these machines have had a very detrimental effect in communities up and down the land.The bookmakers have chosen to take a defiant approach, trying to face down parliament, really, with a very aggressive campaign".

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.

"Although we are ultimately disappointed with the outcome of the Triennial Review, it is a decision we accept", said GVC Holdings CEO Kenneth Alexander.

Tracey Crouch, Minister for Sport and Civil Society, said FOBTs can "devastate individuals' lives, families and communities".

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

'Following analysis of consultation responses and advice from the Gambling Commission, the government believes that a cut to £2 will best achieve this.' A spokesperson has said.

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Changes to the stake will be through secondary legislation and remain subject to parliamentary approval, while the government said it will also engage with the gambling industry to ensure operators are given enough time to implement and complete the technological changes.

"This is a decision that puts player protection first, and will allow the gambling industry as a whole to move forwards and create a safer, more socially responsible environment for consumers", he said.

The Government also confirmed a raft of measures to clamp down on the gambling sector, including plans to toughen up protections around online gambling, such as introducing stronger age verification rules and affordability checks.

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

- A multimillion-pound advertising campaign promoting responsible gambling.

"It is also welcome to see that Public Health England will be looking into gambling related harm which simply doesn't have the support it now needs".

- A review of age limits for National Lottery games at the time of the next licence competition.

September's Betting on Sports conference will be looking at the situation in the Betting on Retail track at a session entitled: New Reality - Adapting to the post-FOBT landscape.

The speed with which gamblers can lay a bet - every 20 seconds - and the maximum size of the stake - £100 - make FOBTs dangerously attractive, he said. What is in the pipeline?

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