I’m deeply concerned that the UK government, through HM Treasury, could kick into the long grass the implementation date for the stake reduction on FOBTs as late as April 2020 – almost a full two years after making the stake reduction announcement.
It is now 700 days since the UK government first began consulting on this issue and over £3.5bn has been lost, often by some of the most vulnerable people in our society.
Gambling related harm is becoming more prevalent as we continue to see our high streets filled with bookmakers, and our televisions constantly showing gambling adverts during live sports, and thus before the watershed.
It’s vital the Chancellor announces the implementation of the £2 maximum unit stake on FOBTs in the upcoming Budget which would allow for all legislation to be in place by April 2019. Further delays only serve to line the pockets of the bookmakers and does little to support those individuals and families whose lives have been devastated by the addictive nature of these machines.
If the Chancellor excludes it from this month’s Budget then we could be looking at a 2020 implementation date and that is simply not acceptable.