UK’s Sports Minister Tracey Crouch Resigned Following the Delay of FOBT Stake Cut, But Now Things Are Changing Significant changes in the gambling industry were made this year, but the one that caused the most drama was the delay of the FOBT stake cut from £100.00 to £2.00. Although reportedly the UK government is reconsidering to proceed according to plan, Tracey Crouch, UK’s Sports Minister have resigned to show her revolt. The Situation with the Stake Cuts This Monday, news leaked that the Tory government would proceed with the procedural moves for FOBT stake cuts according to plan. They would allegedly implement the Autumn Budget 2018 but using the statutory instrument. This way, they would prevent opponents from the parliament from introducing amendments in order to achieve quicker timeline for maximum stake cuts on FOBTs. Everyone was expecting the cuts to be introduced in April 2019, several months from now, including the Sports Minister Tracey Crouch. However, Chancellor Philip Hammond announced last week that the cut from the current £100.00 maximum bet to £2 will be imposed by October 2019. Since the Sports Minister Crouch was expecting this a lot sooner, she resigned to show her displeasure with the cut delay. Chancellor Hammond used a philosophical stance in order to trick the parliament to pass the budget. He said that while proposing budgets to the parliament was the government's job, amending the budget was not the constitutional tradition of the parliament. Because he was accused of being pro-gambling on several occasions, he added that he viewed the fixed-odds betting terminals as terrible things and rejected the idea that he was protecting operators. He then noted that as soon as the cut is imposed, many less-profitable betting shops will close, meaning many thousands of jobs will be lost. The government should actually deal with these losses via voluntary redundancy rather than compulsory redundancy processes. Crouch’s Statement Any bookmarker's quarterly reports show that FOBTs make 50% of their retail betting revenue and that UK operators will experience a major financial hit with the stake cut. However, £1.6bn will be lost on FOBTs from the time when the stake cut was announced to the time of its implementation. She considers that the delay is unjustifiable, not only for her own constituency but for all those lives that will tragically be taken due to gambling problems as a result of the delay. In fact, Crouch considers the delay to be due to commitments made by others to those with registered interests. In an interview, later on, she explained that she was referring to Philip Davies, Tory MP, who has ties to the gambling industry. Davies, who’s also the chair of the Parliamentary All Party Betting and Gaming Group, Crouch noted, had met with Jeremy Wright, who’s the Digital, Culture, Media and Sports Secretary, right before the public debut of the budget. She then added that Davies voice on behalf of the gambling industry was heard, as opposed to hers, for which she laments was not as persuasive as his. Wright, on the other hand, says that the news about the stake cut have been twisted to various uses, depending on everyone’s interests, but saying that it is a delay is going a little bit far. He defended the delay, however, he faced strong criticism from both sides of the house. Those in Favour of Crouch The former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith asked Liz Truss, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury to consider moving the cut forward to the House of Common. In addition to Duncan Smith, Labour MP Carolyn Harris, as well as 35 Tory rebels, are expected to lay the amendment and leave the government in a checkmate position. Moreover, Crouch has received praises from the Archbishop of Canterbury, who tweeted that she was courageous and principled and blessed her commitment to doing things right, and from the parents of those who took their own lives due to gambling-related problems from FOBTs. In fact, some of these parents, in a letter to the Chancellor, said that he would be morally bankrupt if he allowed gambling operators keep FOBTs’ bets be £100.00 until October. They say that profiting at the expense of young people’s lives is horrible and every month that the reduced bet implementation is delayed, tens of thousands more youngsters are becoming addicted and dozens resort to suicides. And finally, Crouch also has the support of Labour’s deputy leader Tom Watson who said that she poured her heart and soul into a significant cause and made a principled decision to resign from the government due to Wright’s decision to delay the stake cut. He says that Wright should be ashamed of himself for prioritizing corporate interests over victims, greed over good and profits over public health.