Despite recommendations in July by the Commons Culture Select Committee to relax gambling laws, Ministers are planning otherwise. According to reports they plan on changing the limits on what is termed as high-stakes gambling machines. The proposed restrictions are to limit the maximum stake to £2.

Liberal Dems have pointed out that FOTB’s (Fixed-odds- betting terminals) are potentially addictive and the high stakes betting possible can cause serious gambling problems and incur debts. These voices come not long after Labour leader Harriet Harman stated recently that it was a mistake by the party to have relaxed gambling laws.

Other interested parties like pubs and resorts are concerned as they are not able to compete with these advanced betting machines that allow gamblers to play with thousands of pounds in a couple of minutes. They claim that the betting shops who operate these machines have an unfair advantage. According to a government source, “It’s an issue we are aware of and are keen to deal with.”

The government has to tread carefully as a crackdown on these betting machines would push gamblers to online gambling operators. Labour MP’s like David Lammy believe that strong measures need to be adopted to tackle the problem. The possible changes could include reducing the number if FOTBs as well as the betting size maximum.

It remains to be seen how the British government satisfy all parties. While clearly the pubs and resorts have a vested interest in these FOTBs been reduced, there is a real danger that online gambling will increase which would result in less revenues for the government as many of these are operated offshore.

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