Minister on brink of quitting over FOBT stake delay

FOBT stake reduction
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Tracey Crouch, the Sports & Civil Society Minister, is understood to be considering her position after the Treasury announced a six month delay in the reduction of stakes on fixed odds betting terminals.

The Government had previously agreed to slash the stakes on fobts, but the recent budget announced that a reduction will be delayed by six months until October 2019.

Two friends of Ms Crouch confirmed to The Telegraph that she is considering her position.

Both Ms Crouch and Matt Hancock, the former culture secretary, are understood to have pushed for the stake reduction amid concerns that the machines are highly addictive.

Nevertheless, culture secretary Jeremy Wright appears less enthusiastic towards cutting the stakes fearing it may damage the sector.

The delay has instigated a row in Cabinet with Sarah Wollaston, Conservative MP for Totnes, calling the power of parliamentary lobbying “sickening”.

Iain Duncan Smith, a leading campaigner against the machines told journalists: “I am deeply concerned.

“The gambling industry have fought it tooth and nail and succeeded in securing a delay. Families will be in a terrible plight if this is allowed to stay for the next six months. Tracey is really upset about it, she worked really hard to get it done.”

A spokesman for Downing Street said the October deadline was “a balance between making sure we protect those who work in the industry and making sure that we bring in this really important change”.

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