Gambling industry engagement on FOBTS guaranteed in Parliament session
During a Parliamentary debate, Lord Ashton of Hyde, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State of Digital, Culture, Media and Sports confirmed that bookmakers would be involved in the implementation of new Fixed Odds Betting Terminals.
During the debate, Lord Ashton of Hyde outlined that the new regulations would be done through a secondary legislation, adding that they “will happen alongside engagement with the gambling industry to ensure that there is an appropriate period in which to implement the technological changes and develop plans to mitigate the potential impact on employment”.
Industry-wide cuts to the maximum stakes of B2 Gaming machines were announced by the Government in May. The stakes would be reduced from £100 to £2.
The guarantees caused some discord, with the Bishop of St Albans stating that is earlier delight about the cuts to maximum stakes on FOBTs had turned to ‘puzzelment and dismay’.
The DCMS replied that the process has already commenced with regards to implementing the regulations, underlining that the process for this was lengthy.
Conservative MP, Lord Deben also remarked that the reason for the slight delay to the transition period was because of the interests of the Treasury.
He said “This is a Treasury matter and the reason it is being held up is precisely because of that last point—the Treasury makes money out of it? We want this change because this gambling causes misery and ought not to continue. It is not good enough to plead administrative difficulties; these people should stop, and stop now.”
This was disputed by Lord Ashton, who replied “There is a process that has to be gone through when such measures are implemented. We have to take into account not only the harm to gambling but the harm to employment that will be caused by this.”
Defending the regulations timescale, he said “When we made the announcement that the revenue forgone from FOBTs would be made up by remote gaining duty, we said that the Chancellor would introduce that at the relevant Budget. We want it to be revenue neutral and so the remote gaming duty has to be in place to make up for the forgone revenues. We said that at the time. We are implementing this as quickly as we can. A process has to be gone through and we are keen to get on with it.”
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