The UK has long been debating whether or not to lower the maximum bet on fixed odds betting terminals (FOBT) in the country. Today it's being reported that the government may lower the max bet to £2 per game.
Current UK law permits players to wager up to £100 per spin, with some problem gamblers having thrown thousands in the machines to feed their addictions. This has led to calls from advocacy groups to call for a lowering of the maximum wagers. Last fall the government said it would consider dropping the max wagers to between £2 and £50, but it appears that regulators will move toward the lower amount after response to the study revealed a preference for the lower max.
The move was derided by some gambling firms, including Ladbrokes, who stands to lose millions in revenues due to the lower bet amounts. Speaking about the issue Ladbrokes CEO Jim Mullen said, "The triennial review has been running for over 15 months and throughout that time there has been constant rumour and speculation about potential outcomes, of which this is yet more.
"It should be noted that the current call for evidence is yet to conclude and industry responses have not yet been submitted to Government.
"We are very clear that stake cuts will fail to adequately address any issue of problem gambling; the industry has also always made it clear that a cut to stakes will have serious consequences - resulting in shop closures which will ultimately affect jobs, tax revenue and the funding of racing.
"There is also no evidence that machine customers will switch their spend to sports betting such as horse racing, and our experience is that they won't; any policy made on this assumption would result in a significant reduction in the level of funding for horse racing.
"We will continue to make the case for a sensible measured, evidence led and proportionate response to the public concern regarding these issues and this will be the basis of the evidence submitted as part of the ongoing review."
We'll be keeping an eye on this development and will update readers as we learn more.