Government mulls new £20 limit for high street gambling terminals
Ministers are set to clamp down on problem gambling this week by dramatically reducing the maximum stake on high street betting machines.
The Sun on Sunday reports that the highest stake allowed will go down from £100 to £20 as the Government takes action on fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs).
The machines have been labelled the "crack cocaine" of gambling and blamed for a host of social problems, from debt to family breakdown.
Matt Zarb-Cousin of the Campaign for Fairer Gambling described the move as "very welcome".
Culture minister Tracey Crouch is due to begin a 12-week consultation this week examining plans to reduce the limit to either £50, £20 or as low as £2, the level some campaigners have been calling for.
If the Government goes ahead with the plans it would take a huge chunk out of bookmakers' revenues and potentially cost the Treasury as much as a £1bn in lost taxes.
Sources told the paper that Ms Crouch favours a £20 level as it is a "serious but workable" change.
Accountants KPMG have warned that a sharp reduction in stakes could see thousands of high street betting shops close, with staff losing their jobs as a result.