The Speaker
Saturday, 25 May 2024 – 00:24

Sports minister Tracey Crouch quits after row over betting machine crackdown

The sports minister, Tracey Crouch, has resigned from the cabinet amid claims the government has “delayed” slashing the maximum stake on fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs) to £2 down from £100. FOBTs allow users to gamble up to £100 every 20 seconds and have been described as the “crack cocaine” of betting machines by campaigners, sighting them as dangerously addictive.

Ms Crouch claimed in her resignation letter that “implementation of these changes are now being delayed until October 2019 due to commitments made by others to those with registered interests”.

“From the time of the announcement to reduce stakes and its implementation over £1.6bn will be lost on these machines, a significant amount of which will be in our most deprived areas including my own constituency,” Ms Crouch said.

“In addition, two people will tragically take their lives every day due to gambling related problems and for that reason as much as any other I believe this delay is unjustifiable.

“The alignment of the stake reduction with an increase in remote gaming duty was a condition put on by the Treasury to provide fiscal neutrality but is not a technical necessity, so there is no reason why implementation cannot come in sooner than October.”

The departure of the Chatham and Aylesford MP is bad news for Theresa May, who has now seen seven of her cabinet ministers resign since the 2017 snap election.
Following her resignation, Mrs May denied there was any delay to the plans. Ms Crouch has been applauded by MPs from across parties for her decision to resign;

Will the government u-turn on the ‘delay’? Comment your thoughts.

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