The UK government will reportedly delay its £2 cap cut on FOBT bets until October 2019.
In May, the government accepted recommendations from the UK Gambling Commission to set a new maximum stake of £2 on fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs), a dramatic cut from the current limit of £100.
Several bookmakers warned that the change would lead to job losses throughout the industry and while the Treasury is expected to lose around £475 million in tax income due to the changes, the government has stuck by its decision.
Campaigners and MPs urged for gambling companies to be given until April 2019 at the latest to prepare for the decision, but a new report by The Guardian claims the date has been removed from budget plans and replaced with an October 2019 date.
Chancellor Philip Hammond is expected to announce the plans during next week’s budget, but it’s thought that the six-month delay will provide bookmakers an extra six months to prepare for the changes.
However, the news has sparked an uproar as many organisations have slammed the supposed delay, claiming it would only benefit bookmakers and casino game developers.
Carolyn Harris, the Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on FOBTs, said in a statement: “Any additional time is without justification and merely lining the bookmakers’ pockets.”
Matt Zarb-Cousin, a former gambling addict and spokesperson for Fairer Gambling, told the Guardian that the delay was inexcusable, saying: “More people will get addicted and more lives will be destroyed as a result of the unnecessary delay.”
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) told the Guardian: “We will make the legislative change required as soon as possible.”
Chancellor Philip Hammond is expected to deliver the budget on October 29.