FOBT Maximum Stake Move Brought Forward to April by Government

The maximum stake on FOBT betting machines in bookmakers is scheduled to drop from £100 to £2. That was originally planned to change in October 2019, but after pressure on the government, that has now been brought forward to April 2019, much to the delight of those who backed the change originally.

The plans to make a change to the maximum stake were originally revealed in the budget by the government, with the date of October 2019 later given. The agreement to lower the stakes has been widely accepted as the right way to move forward, but the date has caused much concern and raised many questions from those who have campaigned hard for a change.

Sports Minister Tracey Crouch has recently resigned over the delay, stating her upset at the decision to wait on something that could be implemented much quicker. Many former ministers tabled amendments to the agreement to bring the motion forward, and that is now what we have seen happen.

Why Has the Government Changed its Mind?

The government have given a simple reason as to why they are changing their mind on the date of change, and that is that they have simply listened to what people have said and acted upon it. They say they have heard the push for bringing the move forward, so that is exactly what they have done.

The government had said they had consulted and examined the evidence before deciding to make the change in October 19, but that either didn’t happen as much as they said, or they are happy to go against that. Either way, the change has been brought forward for no other reason other than because they have listened to the argument.

Why Has the Change Been Made?

FOBT’s have been under big criticism for a number of years now, with those against them saying that they cause gambling problem and promote bad habits. This exposes people, and that is something that the lowering of stakes is hoping to solve. The government has spent two years looking at the machines, gathering evidence and putting together a plan for the future before deciding to make the change, so it is not something they have taken lightly.

FOBT’s have been in betting shops since 1999, and we have over 30,000 of them across the UK. Back in 2009, FOBT machines gave the bookmakers a total profit of £1.05bn but in 2017 that profit was up to £1.83bn. This is a total increase in profit of 74%, huge money for the bookmaking business. Last year, the profit made from FOBT’s rose to 57%, meaning that over half of the profit made by an average betting shop comes from these machines, instead of taking bets off customers.

There is no doubt they will leave a big hole behind, and bookmakers are going to have to find a way to cover this shortfall by going back to their origins, and actually taking bets over the counter.

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