UK lawmakers who are concerned about the possible social harm caused by controversial fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs) have found a new way to take action against the recently unveiled plans of the Government to put off the expected industry crackdown until October 2019.
At the time he presented the next year’s budget, Philip Hammond, Chancellor of the Exchequer, revealed that the expected change in the maximum stake allowed on gambling machines is to be implemented six months later than expected. The new rules were initially expected to be brought into action in April 2019 but the Government has decided to give local bookmakers six additional months to adapt to the changes, which has has been found disappointing by all proponents of the measure.
What is more, the UK Government is also trying to use some parliamentary tricks in order to bypass a possible vote on the matter.
Chancellor Hammond refused to meet with families bereaved by suicide – so lobbying from just one side was allowed … the side with vast wealth. This will be a stain on his personal reputation forever. #fobt #gambling #hammond @PhilipHammondUK https://t.co/1hAma6kdWB
— GamblingWithLives (@GambleWithLives) November 6, 2018
As revealed by Bloomberg, the Conservative lawmaker Peter Bottomley shared that yesterday, a group of lawmakers who have called for the Government to proceed with the implementation of the industry clampdown decided to keep the issue ticking. They have been considering to add a clause in the finance bill presented by Chancellor Hammond in the committee stage when the entire bill is thoroughly reviewed by lawmakers. First, however, the finance bill needs to go through a second reading in the House of Commons, which is scheduled for November 12th.
A Lawmakers’ Group Trying to Push for Crackdown Implementation
The clause which has been being considered by the above-mentioned lawmakers’ group is intended to call for an in-depth inquiry and assessment of the possible effects of the crackdown if it is rolled out in April 2019, as initially insisted.
As Bloomberg reported, two people familiar with the matter who asked not to be named, revealed that the restrictions will be implemented by a statutory instrument which cannot be amended. According to one person, the form of legislation had been scheduled for introduction at the beginning of the week, while the other person said that it will now be delayed until 2019.
Chancellor Hammond has recently defended the UK Government’s decision for the long-desired FOBT clampdown to October 2019, saying that balance was needed, as local bookmakers had warned about large job losses and betting shop closures across the county. According to the authorities, the six additional months given to the gambling operators to prepare for the changes would and the expected job losses will be dealt through what he called “voluntary redundancy processes”.
Government refuses cut in fobt machine stakes for revenue reasons
A new sports minister is selected. Anyone think she will be fighting that decision is living in cuckoo land
— Geoff Banks (@geoffbanksbet) November 6, 2018
He also revealed that the decision for the delay was made after lobbying from the gambling industry, but said that he had not been trying to protect the controversial gambling machines. Only days ago, the Sports and Civil Society Minister Tracey Crouch resigned, disappointed with the Government’s decision.