UK government forced to bring forward FOBT stake cut

UK government forced to bring forward FOBT stake cut

Wednesday, November 14, 2018 Posted by News Team
Houses of Parliament
Cut - and accompanying hike in remote gaming duty - to be introduced in April 2019

The UK government has bowed to pressure from MPs and campaigners to bring forward the implementation date for slashing maximum fixed odds betting terminal (FOBTs) stakes.

In a written statement issued this afternoon, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Jeremy Wright announced that FOBT stakes would now be cut to £2 from April 2019.

As a result an increase in remote gaming duty, which is being raised to 21% to offset taxes lost as a result of the new FOBT stakes, will also come into force from April next year. This will be done through a Statutory Instrument, to be introduced in the House of Commons this week.

“The Government has been clear that protecting vulnerable people is the prime concern, but that as a responsible government it is also right to take the needs of those employed by the gambling industry into account and provide time for an orderly transition,” Wright said in the statement.

“Parliament has, however, been clear that they want this change to be made sooner. The Government has listened and will now implement the reduction in April 2019.”

Wright called upon the industry to work with the government to reduce the effects of the expedited timeline, especially the impact on jobs.

“Finally, the Government will continue to take action to protect vulnerable people, including strengthening protections around gaming machines, online gambling, gambling advertising and treatment for problem gambling,” he added.

Pressure had been growing on the government since Chancellor Philip Hammond delivered his budget on October 29th, during which he disappointed a number of MPs by setting out the October 2019 implementation date.

This prompted Minister for Sport and Civil Society Tracey Crouch to resign, accusing the government of looking out for the interests of gambling operators over those of the public.

Despite Hammond and Wright both defending the policy, claiming that its introduction had in fact been pushed forward from 2020, MPs from all parties pushed for the implementation to be brought forward.

More than 100 signed an amendment to the budget, which would only permit a raise in remote gaming duty if it was linked to the stake size being cut from that date. Earlier today it emerged that up to 12 private parliamentary secretaries were planning to resign their positions in protest at the perceived delay in the cut. This left Hammond in danger of having his Budget bill voted down by the House, which would have seen him become the first Chancellor in 40 years to suffer that ignominy.

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