Relief for bookies over gambling machines reports


The popular betting machines have been under an extreme amount of scrutiny over the past year, as they now allow players to bet £100 every 20 seconds at the terminals, potentially allowing a punter to spend £18,000 an hour.

However, the Commission has received backlash after announcing its guidance, with Carolyn Harris MP describing it as "outrageous" that the watchdog was not "brave enough" to adopt the £2 limit, and said the machines "blight" lives.

The maximum stake for fixed odds betting terminals should be cut to £30 or less, the Gambling Commission has now recommended.

The recommendation is likely to be seen as a victory for bookmakers, who derive more than half of their annual revenues from FOBTs and say a cut to £2 on these games would force shops to close and cost jobs. I hope the ministers will be courageous and use the review to do the right thing and reduce the maximum stake to £2'.

William Hill and Ladbrokes Coral were both on the up after the commission ended months of uncertainty and recommended setting a maximum stake for the machines at or below £30.

Labour MP David Lammy tweeted: "I have been campaigning against FOBTs for nearly a decade and sincerely hope that the Government will now look at the evidence and cut maximum stakes to £2".

The Gambling Commission published eagerly-awaited advice on gaming machines.

Met Office's yellow weather warning for Worcestershire remains in place until tonight
Tuesday, Londoners can expect a cold and breezy start with icy patches, although it will be milder and brighter. There's a small chance of travel delays because of the weather which may cause some vehicles to become stranded.

In October ministers confirmed the stake would be £50 or less but have yet to specify a limit.

There are more than 30,000 fixed-odds betting terminals around the country, which now have a maximum stake limit of £100.

A year ago alone £1.8billion was lost through FOBTs and the average gambler lost £1,250.

Commission chief executive Neil McArthur said: "We've put consumers at the heart of our advice - advice which is based on the best available evidence and is focused on reducing the risk of gambling-related harm".

That was exactly the reason why the UK Gambling Commission had recommended not only the machines' stake to be reduced, but also a more thorough package of other measures to the imposed in order for consumers to be protected. It suggested that bookmakers track customers" behaviour to identify those with addiction problems and ban players from switching between high-stake FOBTs and lower stake "quickfire' games in one session.

"The Tories should back Labour's call to reduce the maximum stake to £2".