Church of England welcomes British government's gambling announcement


The UK Government has introduced rules that will reduce the maximum stake on fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs) from £100 to £2.

Critics of the machines, often dubbed the "crack cocaine" of gambling, had also written to Prime Minister Theresa May urging the government to cut the stake to 2 pounds.

Users can now gamble away up to £100 every 20 seconds on the machines, which campaigners say are dangerously addictive and have been dubbed the "crack cocaine of gambling".

Having reviewed the consultation and taken advice from the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC), the £2 stake was the best way to achieve this, the department said.

It's not clear when the new rules will come into effect, but bookmakers have warned that the changes will likely have a significant effect on business.

The reported decision by United Kingdom officials to significantly reduce betting amounts on FOBT machines shows the hard task regulators have in balancing service provider interests with addressing the growing threat of problem gambling issues, and could very well spark a new round of Mergers & Acquisitions across the industry.

The country's Gambling Commission had already called in March for the maximum stake to be cut to no more than £30. It is right that we take decisive action now to ensure a responsible gambling industry that protects the most vulnerable in our society. "No longer will gamblers be able to run into serious trouble on the High Street and betting has been restored to a leisure activity".

CEO Philip Bowcock said: "William Hill has a long and proud heritage as part of the United Kingdom high street and we know how important betting shops are to our customers and their local economies".

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Ms Crouch said today: "Problem gambling can devastate individuals" lives, families and communities.

However, that convenience also makes the machines one of the biggest revenue generators in the gambling industry that supports roughly 40,000 jobs in the United Kingdom alone.

The clampdown, which marks the biggest regulatory change in the United Kingdom gambling industry since rules were liberalised in 2005, was welcomed by charities, the church and opposition politicians. Our focus now is to work with Government to build a constructive relationship that will ensure a positive future for the sector and the many millions of customers who enjoy our products responsibly.

The Government said it would also be toughening up protections around online gambling and launching a multi-million pound advertising campaign to promote responsible behaviour.

Elsewhere, Public Health England will review evidence relating to public health harms of gambling, while, as part of the next licence competition, the age limit for playing National Lottery games will be reviewed.

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

It added that the reduction would be linked to an increase in Remote Gaming Duty, a tax paid by online gaming operators, in a bid to protect the amount of income it gets from the industry.