‘Fake news’ – FOBT review has not been derailed, says Bacta

‘Fake news’ – FOBT review has not been derailed, says Bacta

Wednesday, August 9, 2017 Posted by James Walker
Bacta chief executive John White has reassured members that the FOBT review has not been shelved

Contrary to recent speculation, the review of Fixed-Odds Betting Terminals (FOBT) stakes has not been shelved, Bacta chief executive John White has reassured members.

Last week, The Daily Mail reported that the review on FOBTs – the £100 stake, £500 jackpot machines found in betting shops across the UK – had been scrapped.

According to the publication, the clampdown on the betting machines had been scuppered following an intervention by Chancellor Philip Hammond, because they “make millions for the taxman”.

However, the story, which was repudiated in a follow-up piece which appeared in The Times, appears to hold no ground, with Tracey Crouch MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Sport and Civil Society, dubbing the article “fake news”.

Yesterday, John White, chief executive for Bacta, the UK amusement and gaming industry trade association, reassured members that the review of FOBT stakes has not been shelved.

Commenting on last week’s story which appeared in The Daily Mail, White said: “I think we should view this in context. Parliament is in recess and we are in what is widely regarded as being the ‘silly season’ for news.”

With Bacta representing the interests of low-stake gaming operators, family entertainment centres and amusement arcades, the association has, for many months, been urging the government to press ahead with its review of FOBTs.

According to Bacta, the officially-named B2 Gaming Machines, which are only permitted in betting shops and casinos, create an uneven playing field, as other operators on the high street are limited to lower-stake Category C and B3 offerings.

Those in favour of the FOBT review have called for a reduction on the current maximum stake of £100 to be reduced to £2.

Speaking to TotallyGaming.com earlier this year, White said: “It is crucial that Bacta sees both a substantial reduction on the stake on FOBTs and a positive response to our request for changes to existing stake and prize levels on gaming machines across the board.”

Totally Gaming says: While the Daily Mail story was immediately dubbed “fake news” by Tracey Crouch MP, Bacta has used the attention generated by the article to press home the association’s economic and social case for what it calls a “progressive approach” to stakes and prizes that, it says, will enable its member companies to “make important contributions to regional economies throughout the country”.

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