Sources believe there is “still a long way to go yet” before a final decision is reached.
The machines have been under scrutiny for some time, with several campaign groups and MPs pushing to cut FOBT stake from £100 to just £2.
The government is slated to recommend this new limit when it reveals the findings of an ongoing review next month. As reported by the Financial Times, this could have serious impact on bookmakers.
The newspaper claims that the government will put forward a number of options: no change to the maximum stake on the machines; cutting it to £2 as demanded by activists; or a compromise figure of either £20 or £30.
If the government opts for the latter option, leading bookmakers could lose GBP 150M in revenue each year.
Should a new maximum stake of £2 be introduced, the impact would be worse as FOBTs are a key source of revenue for bookmakers such as Ladbrokes Coral, William Hill and Paddy Power Betfair.
The bank forecast believes that if the maximum stake was cut to £25, Ladbrokes Coral would lose £87m in revenue for 2018. William Hill, on the other hand, would miss out on £55m and Paddy Power Betfair £10m.
A Whitehall source has said there is “still a long way to go yet” before a final decision is reached.