Government MPs criticise FOBT delay

delay concept

Conservative Party MPs have criticised their own Government over the delay in implementing changes to the maximum stakes on Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs). 

Earlier in the week, the Chancellor Philip Hammond announced that the reduction in the maximum stake of FOBTs from £100 to £2, which had been announced in May this year, would not be implemented until October 2019; a delay of six months. The government has defended the decision, but the announcement has already led to the resignation of Sports Minister Tracey Crouch.

The delay has occurred because the Treasury wanted to give betting industry companies the chance to reorganize their businesses to cope with the changes, and in order to minimise the loss of tax revenue that is likely to result. The Chancellor has also announced an increase in the gaming duty that betting companies pay on revenue earned from online gaming, but that won’t come into effect until October 2019, and is timed to offset the losses from the FOBT regulatory changes.

But many Conservative MPs are angry that the changes are being pushed back, including former Party leader Iain Duncan-Smith, who urged the government to change course:

It is not too late, for the sake of those people whose families and lives have been destroyed and there may yet be more, many more to follow them.”

His comments were supported by the chair of the Health Select Committee, Sarah Wollaston, and fellow Conservative MPS, Andrew Sealous and David Jones, who also criticised the government for failing to admit that this proposal amounted to a delay. The opposition Labour Party have also criticised the government. Shadow Culture Secretary Tom Watson said that he was told by the government that the changes would apply at the beginning of the financial year.   

Time delay image taken from

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