LONDON (Reuters) – The stake on playing machines in British betting outlets is about to be minimize to 2 kilos to sort out the dangers that the terminals can pose to drawback gamblers, the Sunday Times reported, citing an ally of recent tradition secretary Matt Hancock.
The government stated in October it could cut back the highest stake on the machines from 100 kilos to between 50 kilos and two kilos, with the restrict agreed after a session that ends on Tuesday.
Fixed odds betting terminals (FOTB), which permit gamers to guess on the result of assorted video games, are an essential supply of revenue for high-street bookmakers.
Britain’s larger bookmaker Ladbrokes Coral (LCL.L) made about 800 million kilos of income from gaming machines in 2016.
The terminals have been referred to as the “crack cocaine of high street gambling” by critics as they permit gamers to guess as a lot as 300 kilos a minute on high-speed video games corresponding to roulette.
A report by trade regulator the Gambling Commission final yr stated 43 p.c of gamers had been both drawback gamblers or liable to turning into an issue gambler.
Bookmakers, nevertheless, say they’d be pressured to shut high-street shops in the event that they lose the revenue type the machines. William Hill (WMH.L) stated in October it was involved that “severe” cuts within the most stake had been an choice within the assessment.
The Sunday Times stated the “overwhelming” response to the assessment had persuaded the government to scale back the utmost to 2 kilos.
“Matt (Hancock) wants the new stake to be at the bottom of the range,” the newspaper quoted a Hancock ally as saying.
“His attitude to (the terminals) is very negative because it takes money from reasonable, mature betting, like on the horses.”
A Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport spokeswoman stated the government was “currently consulting on what the exact cut should be, and would make a final decision in due course once all the evidence has been considered”.
“We are clear that FOBT stakes will be cut to ensure we have a safe and sustainable industry where vulnerable people and children are protected,” she stated.
($1 = zero.7217 kilos)
Reporting by Paul Sandle; Editing by Adrian Croft