UK Decided to Bring Forward the Planned Stake Cut Changes as of April 1, 2019



Staff member
May 3, 2008
Theresa May and the Tory government agreed that the stake cuts on fixed-odds betting terminals should go from £100.00 to £2.00 as of April 1, 2019. Following strong criticism and the resignation by the Sports Minister Tracey Crouch as a sign of revolt, UK gambling operators have received two bad news: the stake cut and the increase of the Remote Gaming Duty tax from 15% to 21%.

Why the Change of Heart?

On Wednesday, the Tory Government led by the Prime Minister Theresa May made the decision due to cross-party pressure; they have agreed to decrease the maximum bet amounts in FOBTs earlier in 2019, even though last week they have said that it they intended to delay it until October 1, 2019. In fact, Phillip Hammond announced the stake cut delay to October during the 2018 Budget.

This change of heart is due to the outrage from politicians within the Tory Government and the opposition party, but especially as a result of the high-profile Sports Minister Tracy Crouch’s resignation.

Jeremy Wright, the Digital, Culture, Media and Sports Secretary made a statement saying that it was difficult for the government to balance the needs of both the gambling industry and the gamblers with huge gambling-related problems (which was one of Crouch’s main concerns), but since the parliament was clear in their decision that they want the changes to be made sooner, then there was nothing else to be done than make them sooner. He added that the government listened and will now implement the stake reduction in April 2019.

He said that the government is expected to collaborate with the gambling industry to try to minimise damage and the job losses expected with the two changes. As a result of the stake cut and the tax increase, many betting shops will be forced to closure, and consequently, many jobs will be lost. He said that the government has been completely clear that the prime concern is to protect the vulnerable people affected by gambling, but added that the government also needs to act responsibly and take into account all those employed in the gambling industry and provide them time for an orderly transition.

The government has reconsidered the date, so the stake cut will be implemented from April 1, 2019. But, they have planned the stake cut to take effect in October along with the Remote Gaming Duty tax increase, there is another bad news for gambling operators. The Remote Gaming Duty tax increase from 15% to 21% will now also come into force from April 1, 2019.

Crouch’s resignation really sparked a media chaos, but also led to threats by a number of Tory MPs which continued to grow, in order to stop the government from enforcing the tax increase advance unless the FOBTs stake was brought forward.

Crouch’s New Statement

Last week, Crouch really made a statement with her resignation. She received a lot of support from opposing parties and lifted the gambling-related problem consciousness to another level. She said that she was sorry her voice couldn't make a change, but things culminated really fast.

Following Wednesday’s news about the stake cut and the tax increase, Crouch made another statement. She said that she was really pleased to hear that common sense prevailed and added that her resignation was not in vain, as it led to a positive outcome. It led to over 100 MPs to come together with members of the public, press and media commentators, charities and faith leaders and demonstrated to the government the strength of feeling on the issue in question.

What Did the Other MPs Say?

Following the media frenzy in relation to the new changes, Tom Watson, the Labour’s Deputy Leader and Culture Minister said that this act shows the disastrous political judgement of Philip Hammond and Jeremy Wright. He is sad that it had to take an honourable resignation of a good sports minister and a real cross-party revolt to agree on the blindingly obvious and absolutely necessary reforms regarding the fixed-odds betting terminals.

Watson had strong feelings about Wright, saying that although this is a personal humiliation for him, it is a very good news for all those thousands of people whose community and family members are blighted by the awful gambling addiction.

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