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Prime Minister confirms FOBT U-turn

By Tim Poole

The UK government has confirmed it will bring the reduction of maximum fixed-odds betting terminal (FOBT) stakes forward to April 2019.

In the 2019 Budget, Chancellor of the Exchequer Phillip Hammond announced the planned reduction in FOBT maximum stakes from £100 to £2 will take place in October, rather than April as initially expected.

However, heavy opposition to the delay prompted Prime Minister Theresa May to concede in Parliament the policy may be moved forward.

She said: "Our priority is making sure that this change delivers the result we all want to see, we are listening to the concerns being raised by colleagues, and if my right honourable friend will have a little patience I can tell him my right honourable friend the Culture Secretary will set out further details later today."

Culture Secretary Jeremy Wright said: "The government has listened and will now implement the reduction in April 2019."

After the Budget announcement, Sports Minister Tracey Crouch resigned with "great sadness" in protest at the delay, with varying reports since suggesting a number of MPs support her stance.

Following May's later comments, though, Crouch posted a letter on Twitter welcoming the decision to move the FOBT policy forward to April. As part of her letter, she declared “common sense has prevailed."

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