Backlash to Gambling Commission’s prevarication over FOBT stake sends warning to government – CFFG

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There is surely only one conclusion the government can come to when it responds to the gambling review, says the Campaign for Fairer Gambling.

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On Monday, the regulator published its advice to government, which it had submitted to the gambling review. The Times splashed on “Watchdog Backs Away from Tough Betting Curbs”, disclosing that the Gambling Commission had advised the maximum stake on Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs) should be “no more than £30”, but also that a reduction to £2 would be consistent with their advice. This has effectively given the government free rein to determine the most appropriate level.

But the Gambling Commission’s lack of specificity, and the perception that its advice had given a green-light to a higher stake, led to a share-price boost for the bookmakers, as The Times reported the following day. This was accompanied by a scathing leader article – “High Stakes: machine betting is turning Britain into a nation of gambling addicts” – which argued: “The Gambling Commission has therefore recommended that the maximum bet should be reduced to £30. This is still too high. The government should insist on a much lower limit, closer to the £2 recommended by anti-gambling campaigners.”

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