Maximum stake for the ‘crack cocaine’ of gambling will be cut

Stakes on fixed odds betting terminals are to be cut from �100 to between �2 and �50

THE maximum stake on fixed-odds betting terminals will be reduced from £100 to between £50 and £2.

The announcement was made by the government yesterday morning ahead of a 12-week consultation.

Currently, people can bet up to £100 every 20 seconds on the gaming machines but proposals could limit that to between £2 and £50 with the aim of reducing large losses.

Earlier this year The News joined with Portsmouth City Council to launch our Against The Odds campaign to see the maximum stake on fixed-odds betting terminals reduced.

It comes as they were branded the ‘crack cocaine’ of the gambling industry.

Working alongside councillors and MPs, the campaign aimed to lobby the government to impose a £10 per spin restriction on machines.

Councillor Matthew Winnington filed the original motion on the machines in July.

He said: ‘I really hope the maximum stake is as close to £2 as possible. For years, it has really needed to come down to a much smaller level.

‘It is really good news that they are consulting the public and any significant stake reduction will make a real difference. It won’t stop people using the machines but it will stop them causing as much financial damage to themselves then before.’

Councillor Sean Woodward, leader of Fareham Borough Council, has for years called for tighter restrictions on the machines.

He emphasised the £2 limit should be prioritised in order to better regulate the machines.

Cllr Woodward said: ‘The government need to get on with it now and they need to go for the £2 stake. We cannot have a three-numbered figure as the maximum stake on these machines.

‘Of course it is not going to stop gambling but as a result of tough restrictions, for those that have an addictive personality, they are less likely to gamble high amounts of money on these machines if they are cut to £2 per stake.’

The announcement is part of a package of measures revealed in the government’s gambling review.

Raising standards of player protection for online gambling, a responsible gambling campaign and new advertising guidelines are among a raft of suggestions designed to help minimise the risk to vulnerable people and children.

Strengthening the code on responsible gambling advertising and responsible gambling initiatives are also being considered.

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