Former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson is set to add his voice to the campaign against Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs) and join a group of Conservative rebels.
It is believed that up to 60 MPs could be prepared to defy the government over delays to the implementation of tougher regulations. Earlier this year, the Government announced that it would be reducing the maximum stake for FOBTs from £100 to £2. But in last month’s Budget, the Treasury announced that the reduction would be delayed until October 2019.
That decision led to a storm of protest from lawmakers and anti-gambling campaigners, and Culture Minister Tracey Crouch resigned her position. Now, it is being reported in the UK media that Johnson is one of a group of 60 MPs, including some from the Labour and SNP parties, who are planning to support a Commons amendment that would force ministers to bring the date of the regulatory changes forward to April 2019.
Finance Bill amendment
The amendment is being proposed as part of the Finance Bill – which implements the measures set out in the Budget – and is being put forward by the former Conservative Party leader Iain Duncan Smith and the Labour MP Carolyn Harris early this week.
Speaking about the proposal, Mr Duncan Smith said that there was strong support from all parties, and the former Foreign Secretary, who called for a reduction in the maximum FOBT stake back in 2015, is set to add his voice to the protest. Ms Crouch, who accused the government of giving in to the gambling industry, will also be supporting the amendment.
Last week, the Chancellor Philip Hammond said that he thought FOBTs were terrible, but also asserted that the government were trying to manage the process in a sensible way, as the new regulations could put up to 21,000 jobs at risk.
Luke is originally from Auckland, New Zealand. However, he now resides in the north of England. He is a freelance journalist who enjoys covering the latest happenings in the gambling industry. Luke can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.