Tracey Crouch, Minister of Sports and Civil Society, has resigned to object the UK Government’s unwillingness to roll out the crackdown on infamous fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs) quicker.
Ms. Crouch has been one of the most active politicians who joined the campaign against the addictive machines, launching a review according to which FOBT stakes should have been reduced from £100 to £2. Her resignation comes only a few days after the Chancellor revealed next year’s budget and it became clear that the long-expected changes would not be put into action until October 2019.
In her letter to the prime minister, which she published in her Twitter account, Ms. Crouch wrote that the maximum FOBT stake was being delayed because of “commitments made by others to those with registered interests”.
It is with great sadness I have resigned from one of the best jobs in Government. Thank you so much for all the very kind messages of support I have received throughout the day. Politicians come and go but principles stay with us forever. pic.twitter.com/rD8bEbCQcK
— Tracey Crouch (@tracey_crouch) November 1, 2018
As one of the Conservative Members of Parliament (MPs) who spent a lot of efforts to see the crackdown implemented as soon as possible, along with the former Culture Secretary and current Secretary of State for Health of the UK, Matthew Hancock, Tracey Crouch was deeply concerned and unsatisfied when the Government decided to give an extra six months to local bookmakers. At first, gambling operators were expected to be given until April 2019 to make sure their high-street betting shop terminals comply with the new requirements, but now they will have more time to adapt to the changes.
She wrote that an amount of approximately £1.6 billion is expected to be lost on the controversial machines in the period from the crackdown announcement to the actual implementation of the changes. Ms. Crouch further noted that the largest part of that amount is expected to be generated in the country’s most deprived areas and would affect the most vulnerable and disadvantaged members of society.
UK Treasury to Lose £1.15 Billion of Gaming Duty
Reportedly, in her response to Ms. Crouch, Prime Minister Theresa May explained there had been no delay of the expected crackdown on fixed-odds betting machines. She also wrote that the UK Government had taken into account the opinion of those who wanted to see the changes made before April 2020 and then agreed upon on the crackdown roll-out by October 2019.
Rumour has it that Minister Tracey Crouch has clashed with the new Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Jeremy Wright, who is said to have been less concerned with the reduction of FOBT maximum stakes. In fact, Mr. Wright defended the delay of the long-expected crackdown.
This clearly proves Jeremy Wright wrong when he says there's been no decision to delay the roll out of FOBT changes. Government all over the place on FOBTs https://t.co/r15MT6Wb4u
— Matt Dathan (@matt_dathan) November 1, 2018
As Casino Guardian has previously reported, the six-month delay of the crackdown on the addictive gambling machines will provide high-street bookmakers with the chance to generate an extra £900 million apart from the chance to better adapt to the changes. In addition, the UK Treasury also expects to lose about £1.15 billion of gaming duty in the first five years following the decision and will try to compensate for the expected losses by increasing online gambling tax from 15% to 21% to raise approximately £1.225 billion over the same period.