Bookies brace for big hit as Government caps FOBT stakes at £2

Media playback is unsupported on your device                  Media caption Terry White lost up to £15,000 per day on fixed odd betting terminals

Media playback is unsupported on your device Media caption Terry White lost up to £15,000 per day on fixed odd betting terminals

And today the Government has announced that FOBT stakes, which now can be as high as £100 every 20 seconds, will be cut to just £2.

Newham has one of the highest concentrations of betting shops across London, with 81 across the borough and 12 on one street alone. It must now take swift action to implement the stake reduction.

The maximum stake on "crack cocaine" gambling machines will be slashed from £100 to £2, it was announced today.

He said: 'Fixed-odds betting terminals are a scourge on high streets that have taken advantage of the vulnerable for too long'.

Commenting on the announcement, Susan Elan Jones MP said: "There are some gambling machines that are putting people into thousands of pounds worth of debt. I think it shows real intent on the part of the government".

A former Armagh GAA star who battled a gambling addiction has hit out after it was revealed a curb on betting would not be extended to Northern Ireland.

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Past year there were more than 230,000 individual sessions on FOBTs in which people lost more than £1,000, according to campaigners.

Bookmakers rallied from initial falls on Thursday afternoon, having fallen back in morning trading after the betting industry's worst-case scenario unfolded when the United Kingdom government confirmed it will cut the maximum stake on fixed odds betting terminals (FOBT) to £2 from the current £100 in a bid to curb problem gambling.

Sports Minister Tracey Crouch said: "We respect and understand that this may have an impact on jobs in bookmakers... we are working closely with the industry [for them] to be able to grow and contribute to the economy".

The Association of British Bookmakers (ABB) reacted with anger and insisted that jobs would be lost as a result.

William Hill, which makes more than half of its retail revenues from FOBTs, said the "unprecedented" decision could see around 900 of its betting shops become loss-making, with a proportion at risk of closure after the new £2 limit comes into force.

The ABB said a report which paved the way for the new £2 rules was "deeply flawed" and had been funded by commercial rivals of Britain's bookmakers.

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The Government said it would also be toughening up protections around online gambling and launching a multi-million pound advertising campaign to promote responsible behaviour.

The Industry Group for Responsible Gambling (IGRG) has amended its code to ensure that a responsible gambling message will appear for the duration of all TV adverts.

And the age limit for playing National Lottery games will be reviewed under the next licence competition.

The moves are expected to mean losing more than £1bn in tax revenue and the Government says it will cover any "negative impact on the public finances" with an increase in Remote Gaming Duty.

'The great tragedy of this is that for five years now, pretty much everyone in Westminster, Whitehall and in the country has known that these machines have had a very detrimental effect in communities up and down the land and the bookmakers have chosen to take a defiant approach and try to face down Parliament with a very aggressive campaign, ' he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

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