Bath MP Wera Hobhouse says delays to betting crackdown will ‘destroy lives through addiction’


Bath MP, Wera Hobhouse, says high-stakes betting technologies are destroying the lives of deprived families and has criticised the government for its approach to the trend.  MP Wera expressed his dissatisfaction a few days after Tracey Crouch, a former minister of sports and civil society, resigned over government’s management of its plan to crack down on the system.

During Monday’s budget speech, Chancellor Phillip Hammond announced Government plan to trim high stakes for fixed-odds gaming machines from £100 to £2 from October 2019.

Some backbenchers have however claimed there were assured changes will be implemented next year May.  Former Minister Crouch criticised the push-back, calling it “unjustifiable.”

According to the Lib Dem MP, “Players can lose up to £300 a minute on these machines, known as FOBTs, and they are designed to be highly addictive. They are literally destroying lives – two people a day commit suicide because of gambling addiction.”

“This is a tragedy for thousands of families and it’s a scandal that the Government is conspiring with the big bookmakers to allow it to continue. FOBTs are concentrated in deprived areas and so they are effectively a tax on the poor.”

“Lib Dems have been campaigning for years to cut the maximum stake from £100 to £2 to fix the problem.

“The government eventually agreed but now they have decided to delay the change until October next year, after being lobbied by their friends in the big betting PLCs.

MP Wera applauded the Minister for her bold step against the “betrayal”, saying the shift will put families in harm’s way.

“The Tories have chosen to side with the big bookies and their profits rather than with the welfare of gambling addicts and their families.”

“If I get an opportunity to vote in Parliament to reverse this disgraceful decision, I will certainly do exactly that,” MP Wera maintained.




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