The debates surrounding the fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBT) in the United Kingdom continue. After the resignation of Tracey Crouch, British Prime Minister Theresa May had reiterated the stance of the government that everything was going according to plan. However, calls for a rethink of the timeline for the law have been heard since Ms. Crouch stepped down.
Crouch’s Resignation Raises Questions
Even before October 29, Ms. Crouch had been strongly for the changes in the FOBTs measures that are coming in effect in October 2019. On Thursday, November 1, Ms. Crouch confirmed that she had handed her resignation to Prime Minister Theresa May.
Many government officials, including Ms. Crouch, have been uneasy with the timeline of the measures for the FOBTs, which will effectively see the maximum betting limit reduced from £100 presently to £2 after the legislation is released in full.
In addition, the Remote Gaming Duty (RGD) will also rise to 21% from presently 15%. In simple words, two very important changes will come to pass next October. However, one thing that truly sticks out, according to Ms. Crouch, is the timeline.
Many have pushed for an earlier adoption of the FOBTs measures, as early some said, as April 2019. Following the failure to meet this demand, Ms. Crouch left citing reasons that had to do with intentional delays which were designed to favor certain parties.
On the other end of the spectrum, there were people such as Culture Secretary Jeremy Wright who claimed that the measures were actually expedited, as originally, the government intended to pass the laws in April 2020.
Mr. Wright also said that the measures that were just voted on Monday did not in fact bind the government to act on them and that changes could be enacted much quicker if need be.
Meanwhile, the Prime Minister’s official has said time and again that there have been no delays.
More dissent emerged from the All Parliamentary Group (APPG) with Carolyn Harris, chair of the group, saying that the government’s decision has been “unjustifiable” and there were real people who suffered from the delays in passing the legislation.
Couch’s resignation was well-timed. It came at the opening day of Responsible Gambling Week. Even it it’s not on her post, Ms. Crouch will continue to work on perpetuating awareness and advocating for safer gambling practices that stand to benefit everyone in the industry.
The FOBTs Cause an Evident Split
The legislation has indeed proven a divisive one. With the government and the chief architects of the plan entirely split over the measures, it’s safe to say that further traction may follow, though the worse may have passed.
However, bookmakers are also expecting to register major losses across the board, although most of the companies are prepared to cope with a tax rate of 21% and bringing the betting ceiling down to £2.
Still, there will be snags and business restructuring that needs to be done. As to the level of public gamblers in the country, they have largely stayed the same, but this is something to be addressed by the entire industry.