Betting machine stakes cut welcomed by Welsh politicians
May 17 2018 by Desiree Burns
In a statement, William Hill acknowledged that around 70% of its gaming machine revenue this year had been generated by stakes in excess of £2 and that as many as 900 of its shops (38% of all its retail space) could become "loss-making" after the changes are implemented.
'The jobs of around 20,000 people are at risk if the decision is made to cut gaming machine stakes to £2, ' he said.
The Government has revealed proposals to cut the maximum stake on fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs) from £100 to £2, following a review into the gambling sector.
Dr Smith said: "Fixed-odds betting terminals are a scourge on high streets that have taken advantage of the vulnerable for too long".
Figures published by stopthefobts.org show that there are 57 FOBTs in 16 betting shops in Wrexham; with over £8m inserted into the machines locally in 2016.
She said: "Following analysis of the evidence received at consultation, £2 has been found to be the stake limit that would most substantially impact on harm by reducing the ability to suffer high session losses, while also targeting the greatest proportion of problem gamblers, and mitigating risk for the most vulnerable players for whom even moderate losses might be harmful".
The betting terminals, previously described as the "crack cocaine of gambling", have been controversial for the huge losses that can be built up in a short space of time.
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"Those of us who have campaigned on this issue include trade unions, MPs, charities, think tanks, businesses, churches and other faith groups and most of all, concerned members of the public, some with very harrowing family stories". I am very glad the Government agrees that a £2 stake is an essential part of the solution.
"Problem gambling can devastate individuals' lives, families and communities", added sports minister Tracey Crouch.
The Association of British Bookmakers (ABB) warned the move will be a "hammer blow" to High Street bookmakers and threaten thousands of jobs.
The Industry Group for Responsible Gambling (IGRG) has amended its code to ensure that a responsible gambling message will appear for the duration of all TV adverts.
The Government said it would also be toughening up protections around online gambling and launching a multi-million pound advertising campaign to promote responsible behaviour.
GVC said it was disappointed with the decision which it expects to have a £160m impact on annual earnings in the first full year after the change - but it has taken steps to be prepared, including a deal which effectively linked the price it is paying for Ladbrokes Coral to the outcome of the gambling review.