Fixed-odds fall-out: MPs argue over date for lower FOBT stakes

The row over lower FOBT stakes continues – this time not over the proposed £2 maximum stake, but instead over when the government should implement this change.  

Work to introduce a maximum stake on fixed-odds betting terminals, better known as FOBTs, has been going on for months.  

Jeremy Wright, secretary of state for digital, culture, media and sport, told Parliament in early November: “The government were urged in an early-day motion in June this year and by the all-party group on fixed-odds betting terminals not to wait until April 2020 to do so, and we have not done so.”

But he added that the ‘best date’ to implement lower FOBT stakes is not until October 2019, with a change in remote gambling duty at the same time to compensate for the reduction in tax receipts from FOBTs.

However, this led to criticism from MPs including Labour’s Tom Watson and Carolyn Harris, who said: “Don’t give me warm words, give me action – April 2019!”

We support an earlier introduction of reduced stakes for FOBTs as clearly this is an issue that demands prompt action – and we will be watching closely when the government vote on the proposals in 2019.


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