Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Fixed-odds betting terminals: Hammond rebuts rumours of government backtrack

Chancellor Hammond has been forced to dismiss claims that he wants to scrap the planned crackdown on fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs), after reports in the Daily Mail at the weekend alleged that he planned to block attempts to restrict use of these controversial gambling machines.

The report claimed that Hammond had said that such plans would be ‘financially crippling’ for the UK as FOBTs generate almost £400m annually in tax revenue and plans to reduce the maximum stake allowed to just £2 would almost halve this income figure. Another government spokesperson, Tracey Crouch of the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, called the report "fake news".

Liberal Democrat Shadow Culture Secretary Christine Jardine had earlier reacted to the rumours by asserting that the Government should not put cash before responsibility. She added: "This review is well overdue and there is an abundance of evidence showing the damage these machines do. Liberal Democrats have been calling for a £2 maximum stake on FOBTs for nearly a decade and there is immense support for that."

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