s part of the review, the Government has decided that it will reduce the maximum stake on an FOBT to £2 (USD 2.70)
In March the UK Gambling Commission published its advice to Government – advice aimed at reducing the risks that consumers, especially those that are vulnerable, face from gambling.
Gambling Commission Chief Executive Neil McArthur said: “We’re pleased Government has supported a comprehensive package of measures to protect consumers, and that this includes a substantial stake cut. Whilst we welcome the reduced stake, that alone will not be enough to address the risks of harm that can come from all forms of gambling."
The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport opted for £2 after more than a year of furious argument between anti-FOBT groups and high street bookmakers, who derive more than half of their revenue from the machines.
The change, which requires parliamentary approval, will reduce the government’s tax take from the machines, but this will be paid for by an increase in duty applied to online gambling, to be detailed in the next budget.
“That is why we will continue to act in other ways to reduce those risks– including delivering enhanced consumer protection for online gambling in the areas of customer verification, fairness and interaction, implementing strong penalties for businesses who breach advertising guidelines, and reviewing gambling product characteristics to identify whether particular features pose greater risk of harm than others," sustained McArthur.
The government also outlined a package of measures -designed to protect vulnerable people and the young- which include the use of spending limits for online gambling until companies have carried out affordability checks to ensure gamblers have enough money to play. The age limit for the national lottery, currently set at 16 years old, will also be reviewed. In connection to this change, online gambling firms will be made to tighten up age checks.
“We are particularly pleased that Government has formally recognised gambling-related harm as a public health issue and has asked Public Health England to conduct an evidence review to inform action on prevention and treatment. This marks an important step forward in understanding the wider harms that problem gambling can have in our communities.”
“It should not be forgotten that tackling gambling-related harm is a complex issue, so we will support the Government in monitoring the impact that any of the changes announced today will have,” concluded McArthur.