Government to crackdown on FOBT stakes in long-awaited UK industry review

Betting Business review stakes
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The maximum stake on fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs) is to be dramatically cut following a triennial review on the UK gambling industry.


In the long-awaited review, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) minister Tracey Crouch unveiled proposals to address FOBTs, as well as online gaming and advertising.

“We have seen online gambling grow rapidly and we need to protect players in this space, while also making sure those experiencing harm relating to gambling receive the help they need,” Crouch said.

However, the review stopped short of placing a specific figure on the maximum stake allowed, instead launching a 12-week consultation period to review options of limiting stakes to “between £50 to £2” down from £100.

Bookmakers, whose £1.8bn income from the machines accounted for more than half of their revenues last year, are expected to lobby for the £50 option.

But the government warned that this amount would involve “minimal change to the status quo”, suggesting lower options of £20 or £30 are more likely.

During the consultation period, the DCMS will also consider slowing the pace at which bets can be made on the machines from the current interval of 20 seconds.

The Association of British Bookmakers (ABB) responded by warning that a limit to £2 on FOBTs stakes could cost 20,000 jobs and slash Treasury income from machine gaming duty, worth more than £700m last year.

Speaking as the consultation period opened, the ABB said the “focus of any final decision should ensure measures are adopted that will be of genuine benefit to problem gamblers”.

It added that bookmakers were “investing very significant sums of money” to tackle addiction.

Nevertheless, the review also put pressure on gambling companies to “step up” on funding for research into responsible gambling or face the introduction of a mandatory levy.

The review also allocated a £7m annual budget for an advertising campaign to promote responsible gambling.

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