British government to introduce fixed-odds betting terminal stake cut in April 2019

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The British government will bring forward a planned cut to the maximum stake on fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs or Category B2 gaming machines) by six months to April 2019, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) secretary Jeremy Wright confirmed on 14 November.

While the majority of FOBTs – which offer both table and slot games – are found in British betting shops, there are also 191 machines operating in casinos in the country according to data published by the national regulator.

Earlier in the month, sports minister Tracey Crouch resigned, after accusing the government of delaying the planned cut in the maximum stake from £100 to £2 until October 2019, a decision she branded “unjustifiable”. In the wake of Crouch’s departure, Mims Davies was named as her successor at the DCMS.

Crouch reportedly alleged that Conservative party colleagues had gone behind her back to secure a longer transition period, suggesting that a meeting between Wright and All Party Parliamentary Group on Betting and Gaming chair, Philip Davies, was key to securing the delay.

However, Davies denied he had attempted to influence the decision, adding that during the meeting, Wright told him he was “minded to introduce the reduction in stake in 2019”.

He also claimed that the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) was against introducing a £2 limit on the maximum stake on FOBTs, and instead favoured lowering the current limit to £30.

“We recommended that a stake limit for FOBT non-slot games should be set at or below £30. The advice was based on the best available evidence and is focussed on reducing the risk of harm to consumers,” a UKGC spokesperson confirmed.

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