As you rightly point out, gambling can have a negative effect on individuals and communities when regulatory regimes do not protect the most vulnerable. FOBTs are important to the economic viability of many betting shops, but we cannot ignore the evidence showing the impact these gaming machines. Reducing the maximum stakes on FOBTs from £100 to £2 will help stop extreme losses by those who can least afford it.
The change will come into effect in April 2019 and Ministers expect the industry to work with them, as well as engage with the cross-Whitehall group that has been set up, to reduce any impact on jobs and to support staff that may be affected by the measure being brought forward. Ministers are confident that this innovative sector will step up, be able to adapt, and help achieve the right balance between enabling people to bet responsibly and ensuring consumers and communities are protected.
These changes alone cannot help tackle the problem of gambling, which is why the Government is not making this change in isolation. Other actions include strengthening protections around gaming machines, online gambling, gambling advertising and treatment for problem gambling.