Slashing of FOTB stakes puts people before profit
It is as addictive as crack cocaine and just as destructive.
And now, after a sustained campaign by The News, the opportunities for them to destroy lives are diminishing.
After almost a year of putting pressure on the government, the maximum stakes on dangerous fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBT) have been slashed from £100 to just £2, the government has announced.
Currently, in just one minute gamblers can – and do – lose up to £300.
And there is no limit to how many goes they can have.
People have become so quickly and dangerously addicted to the FOTBs they have complained of losing their jobs, homes and even their families in the aftermath of losing all their money.
The decision comes after betting giants complained that any moves to reduce the stakes would have an enormous impact on tax receipts which are around £400m, according to the Gambling Commission.
And there are warnings that some smaller high street betting shops could close because of it.
But if they’re capitalising on other people’s misery, why should they stay open anyway?
The decision goes further than the recommendations of a review carried out by the gambling regulator earlier this year, which recommended the maximum stake for FOBTs should be set at or below £30.
The likes of Betfred and William Hill say they will have no choice but to cut thousands of jobs.
But the cost to society, if this high-stakes game of evil roulette were to continue at £100, would be even higher.
The government, following pressure from The News and Portsmouth City Council, has done the right thing and put families before profits in the face of this social blight.