Fixed-odds betting machines shake-up CONFIRMED - 21000 jobs AT RISK

Fixed-odds betting machines shake-up CONFIRMED - 21000 jobs AT RISK

Fixed-odds betting machines shake-up CONFIRMED - 21000 jobs AT RISK

The Bishop of St Albans, Alan Smith, said: "Fixed-odds betting terminals are a scourge on high streets that have taken advantage of the vulnerable for too long".

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".

But campaigners concerned about the social impact of FOBTs pressed for a reduction to a maximum stake size of £2.

According to the government, the move will cut the risk of potentially large financial losses from the controversial machines as well as harm to both players and wider communities.

Figures published by stopthefobts.org show that there are 57 FOBTs in 16 betting shops in Wrexham; with over £8m inserted into the machines locally in 2016.

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Stakes of up to £100 could be placed in quick succession.

The decision goes further than the recommendations of a review carried out by the gambling regulator earlier this year, which recommended the maximum stake for FOBTs should be set at or below £30.

"There's a reason why Fixed Odds Betting Terminals are known as the "crack cocaine" of gambling - with stories of addicts losing up to £16,000 in a day". I am very glad the Government agrees that a £2 stake is an essential part of the solution.

She added: "Even cutting to £10 would leave problem gamblers, and those most vulnerable, exposed to losses that would cause them and their families significant harm".

The terminals are a major source of income for high-street bookmakers which had argued that a cut to the lowest possible option would threaten thousands of jobs.

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The ABB said a report which paved the way for the new £2 rules was "deeply flawed" and had been funded by commercial rivals of Britain's bookmakers.

Measures announced by the government also included tougher rules for internet gambling, including proposals on age verification limits on consumers' spending.

A major, multi-million pound advertising campaign promoting responsible gambling will launch later this year, while the Industry Group for Responsible Gambling has amended its code to ensure responsible gambling messages appear for the duration of all television gambling adverts.

The campaign has secured the widespread support with the General Synod of the Church of England, 93 local authorities, the Royal Society for Public Health and politicians from all parties supporting the campaign.

The government has not revealed what level it plans to raise the online tax to at this November's Budget, but an increase to 20% from the current 15% would appear to be the minimum, and it may opt for parity with the existing Machine Gaming Duty of 25%.

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Ms Harris, who runs the all-party parliamentary group on FOBTs, said: "Bookies have made a lot of money on the backs of very very poor people, and people who are desperate because they have an addiction".

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