After some years of relative harmony, have ministers and high street bookmakers ever been further apart on their views as they are right now?
Following chancellor Philip Hammond’s budget this week it was revealed the maximum single stake on Fixed Odds Betting Terminals is to be cut from £100 to £2, though it will not be enforced until next October.
Bookmakers had aggressively lobbied for the £2 stake not to be increased as in the internet betting age these FOBT’s are the chief source of income for shops, the cut they say meaning thousands of jobs could go.
However after the delay to the stake reduction was announced, Minister for Sports and Civil Society Tracey Crouch has RESIGNED in protest. It is said she was determined the cut would be introduced no later than April and her Labour counterpart, Tom Watson MP, has said she has made a “courageous and principled decision.”
Watson has accused the new Secretary of State of “threatening all of this good work” by adding a further six month delay to the reduction and prioritising corporate interests over victims and greed over good.
Ms Crouch, MP for Chatham and Aylesford, tweeted a copy of her resignation letter to the PM on Thursday afternoon and it was printed in full by the Express.
In the letter she talks about the fact that she believes two people will end their lives every day due to gambling related problems and for that reason the delay is unjustifiable.
These statistics are tragic if true but once again, just in the interests of balance it’s only prudent to point out that once more the government and lobby groups have failed to successfully compartmentalise various forms of gambling. From horse racing to football, casino games to bingo gambling takes many forms and not all victims are those visiting their local bookmakers to let their hair down.
Having been immersed in the worlds of sports betting and writing for the past 20 years, Gary Christie has vast experience on the subjects. He has produced content for various leading websites, including both TVG and Mr Green Casino. Contact Gary at firstname.lastname@example.org.