Gambling Machines Crackdown Announcement Due Within Weeks

The UK Government is set to reduce the maximum stake on the highly controversial fixed-odds betting terminals to £2The Times reports citing people familiar with the ongoing discussions. An announcement is expected to be made within the next few weeks.

The decision was to be made public at an earlier stage, but according to media reports from yesterday the delay was incurred by Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, who was said to have previously been opposed to such a massive cut in the maximum stake. Mr. Hammond reportedly contested the measure as it would result into a huge fall in tax revenue.

At present, FOBTs accept £100 maximum stakes every 20 seconds. Following a review into the gaming machines sector conducted by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport, it was announced last fall that the maximum bet would be cut to somewhere between £50 and £2. A reduction to £2 would cost the exchequer £450 million in annual tax contributions, it has been estimated.

Latest media reports indicate that Mr. Hammond may be close to settling what was believed to be an ongoing dispute with supporters of a bigger reduction of the betting limits, with the latter group being led by Culture Secretary Matt Hancock. Sources told The Times that “[they] are nearly there”.

It is believed that Mr. Hancock and his team have managed to appease concerns voiced by Mr. Hammond about the impact the massive crackdown on FOBTs would have on tax revenue.

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