Machine gaming

The government decided to cut the maximum stakes allowed on gaming machines from £100 to £2. It is very worried about addiction to these machines by people who cannot afford the scale of losses some run up.
The Treasury has decided to delay the implementation of this measure to give the gambling companies more time to adjust to this change. The many campaigners to stop this particular problem are unhappy about the delay. Some MPs will move amendments to the Finance Bill to put pressure on the government to change its mind and get on with earlier implementation of the measure.

I would be interested in your views as I consider adding my name to these proposed amendments. As the government accepts the argument that this type of gambling can become addictive and does harm, there is a case for getting on with implementation as soon as possible. Others defend the right of the gambling industry to offer a range of bets and challenges to people, and think all the time some forms of gambling are legal there will be a risk that some people do it to excess. So far I have had more writing in in favour of the ban.

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80 Comments

  1. Colin Hide
    Posted November 13, 2018 at 5:59 am | Permalink

    I support the early ban.

    Betting shops attract the poorest members of our society disproportionately and those who can least of all afford to loose their money. The figures of how much money has been “taken” from poor people are enormous.

    Sure people should have a choice but the downside outlays the upside for me.

    If they were alcoholics we would ban betting shops putting a glass of beer in front of them!

    • Hope
      Posted November 13, 2018 at 10:36 am | Permalink

      Govts should act there is no question. The vulnerable in society need protecting, sometimes from themselves.

      There is no justification for allowing people’s lives to be ruined or lost by a discredited Treasury unfit for purpose. Lives before money every day of the week. What is there to consider!

      • Hope
        Posted November 13, 2018 at 10:38 am | Permalink

        In Ontario the state is guilty of helping gamblers get back on their feet to spend all their money again on gambling! Go to Niagra Falls and read the papers and see how disgusted the people ar e with their politicians.

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted November 13, 2018 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

      Agreed.
      I’ve spoken with people whose gambling addictions have wrecked their family situation. It ends up with eviction, homelessness or worse and it’s the old story of it costing the exchequer while the betting companies laugh all the way to the bank.

    • Peter
      Posted November 13, 2018 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

      High Street bookmakers were only legalised in the 1960s. Even then they were strictly regulated.

      Machine gambling is the ultimate mug’s game. So there should be protection in place to stop the vulnerable wrecking their families’ lives and ending up penniless.

      Life goes on outside Brexit negotiations and there is other day to day business to be attended to.

  2. Mark B
    Posted November 13, 2018 at 6:03 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    The question I like to ask is, will it work ? Can those supporting this measure prove that ? If not, then I think we are wasting our time.

    Of course the government and others may virtue signal over this but, when it comes to gambling, they ignore the biggest casino on earth – The City. Much like individual gambling, it seems that overnments too csn get ‘hooked’, albeit on the taxes. 😉

    • Alison
      Posted November 13, 2018 at 9:42 am | Permalink

      I would support the measure. The only time I see the terminals, I see lonely men. In those dark places. The only point of those terminals is to make money for those who provide the terminals.
      I gather the timetable on which the Chancellor relied in his decision to delay was prepared by one of the big accountancy/consultancy firms for the gambling association. That made me even less impressed with the Chancellor.

  3. formula57
    Posted November 13, 2018 at 6:23 am | Permalink

    The betting industry must accept its consumers risk self-harm and therefore be ready to adapt once its regulators identify reasonable cause. Accordingly, I do not have sympathy with the calls for delay, presuming the claims that have prompted the proposed change are soundly based.

    Beyond that, let May’s government be denied another chance to show weakness and vacillation before doing the right thing.

  4. Adam
    Posted November 13, 2018 at 6:29 am | Permalink

    Whereas people choose & control their own actions, those risking addiction need less exposure to high temptation. Adding time to protect gambling companies from change may be needless, or less important. They operate in risk as their business anyway. If a food product was found directly to cause sudden death, it would be banned immediately.

  5. Peter
    Posted November 13, 2018 at 6:31 am | Permalink

    Yes the machines are addictive. They are also extremely profitable. As the number of machines that a shop can host is limited, it has resulted in the current proliferation of betting shops. The machines themselves generate sufficient income on their own – regardless of traditional bets on horse racing, dogs etc.

    I would therefore prefer speedy implementation of limits on these machines.

    • Nig l
      Posted November 13, 2018 at 7:03 am | Permalink

      Absolutely agree. Highly addictive and cause untold misery. The gambling industry has lobbied aggressively to prevent this and it is to Governments shame that it has taken this long to reduce the stakes. The Treasury’s delay is just a final sop to them and should be voted down.

  6. eeyore
    Posted November 13, 2018 at 6:46 am | Permalink

    What is a free country but a country with lots of freedoms? Banning things is odious. There must be a strong presumption that people are free to ride to whatever personal hell they choose, so long as they do it on their own bicycle and don’t hurt others on the way.

    But since you ask, Mr Redwood, I humbly suggest you add your name to those calling for a ban. The zeitgeist is for it, the damage to others from problem gambling is clear and apparent. In cases where principles conflict with realities, realities should carry the day.

    • Anonymous
      Posted November 13, 2018 at 8:16 am | Permalink

      The taxpayer picks up the bill. Destitute mothers and children.

    • Atlas
      Posted November 13, 2018 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

      I agree with eeyore – serious damage is being done.

  7. Duncan
    Posted November 13, 2018 at 6:54 am | Permalink

    Jesus wept. Have you lot got nothing better to occupy your time?

    Tell May to stop pandering to Labour and the Guardian. It’s pathetic

    This issue’s an IRRELEVANCE to the vast majority of people.

    Your virtue signalling and this type of politics is becoming fascistic and deeply troubling

    We know MPs by and large couldn’t care less but to express their faux concern they’ll jump on these issues to create the veneer of social concern.

    I know Labour. Indeed we all know Labour and the collective blind eye they can turn when it suits them politically or electorally. There are brutal issues even today when you expect Labour to stand up and draw attention to it and yet they remain silent so this concern about gambling is so pathetic and opportunistic it defies belief

    Realise that the issues MPs think are important are completely irrelevant to the rest of the country’s population

    • Nig l
      Posted November 13, 2018 at 7:10 am | Permalink

      Please never justify your view with the comment that vast numbers of people of support it unless you have the evudence and in any event your rude aggressive approach demeans your views.

      I am a majority of one that agrees with JR and the need for society to recognise the damage these things cause.

    • isp001
      Posted November 13, 2018 at 8:18 am | Permalink

      Duncan has a point.

      This conservative administration seem to have done little other than: tax things; ban things; fund groups to campaign for taxing and banning using utterly dishonest numbers (the ONS – which we pay for – keeps telling the equal pay commission – which we pay for – that their use of numbers is just wrong).

      This is a somewhat fake issue – the money for the campaigning comes from someone with other gaming interests. Check the IEA christopher snowdon before attaching your name or energy to this issue.

    • Anonymous
      Posted November 13, 2018 at 11:33 am | Permalink

      24 hr drinking, online gambling and high stakes gaming machines – they have all caused huge problems when they told us they wouldn’t.

      Now they want to unleash cannabis on us and tell us there won’t be problems with it.

      I think it’s worth a bit of time.

      • Anonymous
        Posted November 13, 2018 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

        Oh… what’s the point. It won’t be Tories in government next time anyway.

        It’s over.

    • Glenn Vaughan
      Posted November 13, 2018 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

      Duncan

      If you think this topic is “irrelevant” then you are more stupid than I imagined. Stick to your daily bleating about Theresa May for whom you cast your vote just last year.

      As a former mental health practitioner I have no hesitation in supporting the implementation of limits on such revolting machines but would prefer they were banned completely NOW.

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted November 13, 2018 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

      That’s a bit unfair mate.
      Remember it was Blairite Labour in 2004 who wanted to plaster the country with dodgy casinos until somebody reigned their necks in. I don’t want the fallout of this type of stuff around me, with casino millionaires in the back pockets of politicians.

  8. Roy Grainger
    Posted November 13, 2018 at 7:00 am | Permalink

    I am generally in favour of the reduced limit. I think you should look into exactly what is behind this “time to adjust” claim by the companies – what exactly does that mean ? Obviously they can change the maximum limit on the machines to in 5 minutes so there is no technical problem, so what is it exactly is the argument for the delay ?

  9. Sakara gold
    Posted November 13, 2018 at 7:30 am | Permalink

    It’s a fact that the purpose of gambling is to make the bookmakers rich. These machines do it in spades (no pun intended) If anyone master the art of extracting cash from bookmakers, they get banned.

    A few years ago one could buy a proprietary software called ‘Oracle With it you could detect which horse had the best chance of winning the race – and which horse the bookmakers though would win. It was so successfull, the bookmakers bought the rights and took it off the market.

    These machines would appear to be another way for the bookmakers to reap huge profits from gamblers addiction. I would support the ban

  10. Old Albion
    Posted November 13, 2018 at 7:32 am | Permalink

    I agree the implementation of a top limit should happen sooner rather than later. Clearly losing £100 in a few seconds is not a ‘fun’ thing to be doing.
    However, I do think the limit of £2 would be unnecessarily low. It’s such a small sum these days. Maybe £10 would be better?
    But then, I’m no gambler and perhaps I don’t have sufficient understanding of the depth of the problem.

  11. Alan Jutson
    Posted November 13, 2018 at 7:54 am | Permalink

    Sign the document to bring it forward, £100 bets at a time on a gaming machine is too much for many.

    Aware that by spending £2.00 x 50 times you can gamble the same away, but it will take much longer, and give more time for the victim (that’s what they are) to think their inevitable mounting losses through, hopefully whilst still manageable.

  12. Thames Trader
    Posted November 13, 2018 at 7:57 am | Permalink

    Implement the ban now. Of course the companies will squeal like little piggies given that a lucrative stream of revenue is being cut.

  13. Narrow Shoulders
    Posted November 13, 2018 at 8:06 am | Permalink

    I have heard both sides of this argument and tend to concur with the bookies who say that this activity will go to casinos, online or underground if the ban is introduced. Those who want or need to gamble at £100 a “spin” are not going to get their fix or jollies at £2 a pop. There is not the same rush.

    Sometimes business needs to be moral and amoral business models should be most moral so I think the bookies should introduce the ban voluntarily to monitor results sooner rather than later. Other alternatives would be to put a time gap on the spins over £2 so you need to wait 5 minutes before the machine can be used again (impractical) or make them cash only so users can not easily use credit to play (could increase crime).

    There is no easy solution and I am not in favour of government interference so I am glad it is not my decision.

    • Anonymous
      Posted November 13, 2018 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

      It won’t be blokes in trainers and twin piped tracksuits going to casinos.

      • Narrow Shoulders
        Posted November 14, 2018 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

        No but they have phones so can go online and can bet with “Marco” down the pub and his aggressive brothers

  14. A.Sedgwick
    Posted November 13, 2018 at 8:08 am | Permalink

    The delay is another example of Hammond’s unsuitability to be Chancellor. He is indecisive and at best makes half decisions.

    The reduction should be implemented in April. Gambling can be a life threatening condition and there should be much tougher controls to deter those at risk.

  15. Alastair Harris
    Posted November 13, 2018 at 8:14 am | Permalink

    Personally I don’t support the reduction to £2. I accept this is a regulated market and subject to the whims of government, but I believe that a maximum stake of £30 to £50 would have been a more appropriate response. These machines are restricted to adults, and the majority of players do not have problems, but rather, enjoy playing. I don’t favour restricting the choices of adults in order to “protect” a very small number of prople with problems, where iothet solutions are available.

  16. Christine
    Posted November 13, 2018 at 8:24 am | Permalink

    While appreciating the good intention behind this proposed legislation, I do wonder where it will end. Gambling is an addiction; so is alcoholism and overeating, the consequences of which are both very damaging to the individuals concerned and the economy as a whole.
    So, by logical extension we should limit the amount of alcohol that an alcoholic can buy or the food that an obese person can purchase. Would that be desirable or acceptable?
    Sadly the truth is that we cannot save people from themselves, however much we might wish to.

  17. Dave Andrews
    Posted November 13, 2018 at 8:25 am | Permalink

    We have “cooling off periods” for many financial products, so extend the scope to gambling debts.
    Someone who has a gambling addiction problem can then reclaim from the credit card company or bank, when their mistake is evident to them, within a reasonable time. This should alleviate considerably the social damage caused by gambling.
    Gambling businesses would take a hit, but they can factor that into their risk models.

  18. George Brooks
    Posted November 13, 2018 at 8:26 am | Permalink

    I support the ban being implemented in the spring and the Treasury will just have to make a few adjustments to cover the loss of revenue. A small price to pay to stop many lives being wrecked or worse ended.

  19. Know-Dice
    Posted November 13, 2018 at 8:33 am | Permalink

    Some time ago the law in Germany for gaming machine manufacturers was that the machines were “rigged” such that the maximum you could lose per hour was the average German wage.

  20. John S
    Posted November 13, 2018 at 8:58 am | Permalink

    I believe in the maxim of P.J. O’ Rourke, “You should have the freedom to do as you damned well like but accept the consequences.” However, as this is a serious problem, I would compromise and suggest a £5 limit.

  21. Richard1
    Posted November 13, 2018 at 9:06 am | Permalink

    Yes I should support it. The govt are amazing cack-handed, especially Hammond and the Treasury. We really need a change post-Brexit.

  22. Norman
    Posted November 13, 2018 at 9:12 am | Permalink

    I think the answer is self evident: it is about protecting the vulnerable.
    I understand the concerns that its too easy to jump on a band-wagon, of which there are so many at the moment. And it often seems churlish to put an alternative view, which may actually be the right one. Many social and environmental issues are of this ilk, and we have to discern the agenda of those behind them.
    In this instance, this is not ‘virtue signalling’; and even if it is, it’s the right thing to do. Ask the mothers who’ve lost sons to this addiction, and the many others who remain vulnerable.

  23. Ron Olden
    Posted November 13, 2018 at 9:23 am | Permalink

    I strongly sympathise with Tracey Crouch’s stance.

    The Government’s behaviour on this has been as disgraceful as that of the Labour Government which introduced these things in the first place.

    This is not question of ‘freedom of choice’. These machines are proven to be addictive. There is no freedom of choice when someone becomes an addict.

    Whether or not this will work is also beside the point. The Government has already decided to do reduce the limit to £2 so it must regard it as likely to do so.

    It is NOT acceptable, to delay this ban on grounds of allowing time to adjust to ‘job losses’. All sorts of things would generate ‘more jobs’ were they not banned.

    It’s either the right thing to do or is isn’t.

    They should also ban machines which operate games of chance in pubs, ban TV adverts for bookmakers , ban the use of ‘free bet’ offers to entice people to open accounts, ban the use of credit cards for On Line Betting, and introduce a compulsory 48 hour cooling off period between the time people deposit money with an On Line Bookmaker and the time they can gamble with it.

    It might also be worth changing the law so that gambling debts, or BORROWING which can be DIRECTLY AND UNAMBIGUOUSLY traced to gambling which the lender knew about are no longer enforceable in courts.

    None of this would significantly interfere with the freedoms of people who want to gamble. But it would protect vulnerable people from moments of weakness and help them avoid addiction.

  24. Duncan
    Posted November 13, 2018 at 9:26 am | Permalink

    How naive of me to think that the issue of FOBT and gaming machines had anything at all to do with human concern or morality. I can now see that this issue’s being used by MPs as political fodder to force the government’s hand in the Commons on a vote through the lobbies

    I should’ve realised just how low politicians will sink to extract maximum political value from an issue like this

    Well, this is tinkering at the edges I’m afraid.

    We need wholesale change at the top including the removal of May as our leader and as our PM.

    We want a Tory revolution not pathetic political games in the House of Commons

  25. Lima
    Posted November 13, 2018 at 9:42 am | Permalink

    Governments are legalistic Pharisees that keep adding to the Law. The truth will set you free.

  26. Lima
    Posted November 13, 2018 at 9:45 am | Permalink

    I used to gamble and i made a lot of money. Why doesnt the govt not just sod off and leave adults alone?

  27. a-tracy
    Posted November 13, 2018 at 9:53 am | Permalink

    We are a strange Country aren’t we, we have people campaigning to legalise drugs to allow more people to freely and without possible prosecution to take mind-altering and potentially long-term health affecting substances to give them a high, whilst at the same time, another group of people are putting restrictions on gambling. My Nan always used to say a fool and their money are soon parted. We can perhaps delay the process but addicts will find a way around blocks put in their path. The authoritarian protector in me says put bans in place and I support bans for drugs due to the temptation to teenagers and young adults with peer pressure if drugs were as easy to get hold of over the counter as cigarettes and alcohol for them. To be honest over University age I’m coming around to legalising drugs and taxing them to put health and care provisions in place for the resulting chaos. The freedom libertarian in me says let adults choose what they do for themselves BUT in a fully funded welfare state where their fellow citizens have to pick up all the pieces and provide all social care, housing, provisions for any children they have etc. I hesitate.

    It is a shame sometimes that you can’t have a card to access these machines and if your card is blocked then you can’t gamble at all, whilst those with a none problematic record can do as they choose. Ban machines and they’ll only be on the track, in the bookies, lotteries, online gambling etc.

  28. Bob
    Posted November 13, 2018 at 9:57 am | Permalink

    I don’t know much about these machines, but why is someone more likely to lose their shirt on them than say horse racing?

    • Anonymous
      Posted November 13, 2018 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

      Because you can have a race every second.

  29. Madge
    Posted November 13, 2018 at 10:00 am | Permalink

    Reduce to £2 as soon as possible, ie by Apr 19 as originally proposed. The Treasury has a vested interest in delay due to the tax take. I wonder how much the Conservative Party has a vested interest in delay because of donations from the gambling industry?

  30. English Pensioner
    Posted November 13, 2018 at 10:18 am | Permalink

    As my gambling has been limited to office sweepstakes, or putting some lose change into a one-armed bandit, I find it difficult to understand the problem.

    The argument about addiction is hard to follow, as there are many things in this world to which one can become addicted and this is but one. Is it any worse than many other addictions such as smoking, alcohol or illegal drugs, and how many people are affected compared with these?

    I suspect that many of the campaigners for the ban are opposed to gambling in general and their aim is to shut down the bookies rather than help gambling addicts.

  31. Iain Gill
    Posted November 13, 2018 at 10:22 am | Permalink

    drop the max stakes and as soon as possible

  32. Peter Parsons
    Posted November 13, 2018 at 10:40 am | Permalink

    The Treasury should not be delaying the implementation of this measure. Early implementation is entirely appropriate and the Finance Bill should be amended to deliver this.

    You should support any such amendments.

  33. The PrangWizard
    Posted November 13, 2018 at 10:51 am | Permalink

    I’m not a gambler and I hope not to take sides in the rights or wrongs of these machines, nor gambling itself. Nor have I been following the arguments over rights or wrongs of the amounts able to be staked.

    However, if the reduction has been properly debated and arrived at I ask, why the delay? My guess would be the betting companies are stalling and to protect their income for as long as possible; however the debate has been running for a long time so they cannot have been taken by surprise.

    If they are saying they need time to change the machines why allow it? In my novice way I say surely they could and should simply switch the machines off now and cover them until they are converted. They will need to stand any loss in the meantime.

    We take too long to effect change generally in the country, dragging things out endlessly, prolonging the agony fearful that some obscure consequence may have been overlooked in a decision, or someone or some organisation is inconvenienced for a while.

    Let’s get it over with, vote against the delay, and then people can turn their minds to something else.

  34. bigneil
    Posted November 13, 2018 at 11:09 am | Permalink

    People with addictive personalities get addicted. Shut one thing off to them and they get addicted to another.

    • lima
      Posted November 13, 2018 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

      bigneil, where does this nanny state mentality stop? These people who like slot machines can go home and open a Forex account and lose all their money that way instead , or they could just gamble with their mates over the flip of a coin.

  35. Edwardm
    Posted November 13, 2018 at 11:20 am | Permalink

    I am instinctively against banning activities unless that activity causes harm. Then measures to moderate it to an acceptable level may be justified.
    I am un-informed in this particular matter, but if there is general consensus in parliament that action is needed, then I cannot see any delay is justified.

  36. Mark
    Posted November 13, 2018 at 11:24 am | Permalink

    Tracey Crouch was right to call the government to account on backsliding. Perhaps more MPs should be doing likewise on other issues, like Brexit?

    Incidentally, I think it is a different matter for customers at Crockfords (whose financial standing is effectively checked by the club) to gamble large amounts at the tables. We accept that there are limits to how much individuals can handle in relation to alcohol and many over the counter medications, or the speed they drive. Gambling should be no different: the aim is not to seek a ban, but to prevent addiction to dangerous behaviour.

  37. behindthefrogs
    Posted November 13, 2018 at 11:41 am | Permalink

    The sooner the rate is reduced to £2 the better. Everything possible needs to be done to reduce the nation’s gambling addiction

  38. old salt
    Posted November 13, 2018 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

    There are those who need protecting from themselves.
    Dare I suggest cutting the proposed £2.00 to £1.00 and ASAP.

  39. Lifelogic
    Posted November 13, 2018 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

    I am rather torn on this issue.

    Is there much point in just banning certain machines? If people really want to gamble they can do it in so many other ways – on line, lottery tickets, private betting or they might just spend it all on alcohol or drugs. A fool and his money are soon parted.

    Perhaps, on balance, a small benefit can be gained by some more restrictions. But what these people really need is help and a full understanding of how they will, almost always, lose out from these machines.

    Lots of things to gamble on where you can win on balance, if you do it well, like businesses, property or political betting I find.

  40. Matt Davies
    Posted November 13, 2018 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

    No more Nanny state. Banning things is not the sign of a free country and I want to live in a free country.

    Does anyone honestly believe people with gambling addictions won’t find another avenue for their addictions? They will turn to the criminal world and black market if need be.

    No, no more banning. Instead work to identify addicts and get them the help they need, rather than blanket bans ruining everyone’s choices.

    • Anonymous
      Posted November 13, 2018 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

      Well that’s fine, Matt, so long as the children of these gamblers aren’t supported by the state when they fail.

      Where’s my freedom not to have to pay for gambling through my taxes ?

  41. roger
    Posted November 13, 2018 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

    In the early nineties the Conservatives destroyed the Amusement with Prizes machine business in pubs and arcades which were restricted to £1 per play and a top prize of £4.50 by introducing the National Lottery with jackpots of millions.
    This regressive tax wheeze, for that is what it is, promised to pay back about fifty percent to good causes, identified of course by the great and the good, for the benefit of all, and did not exclude the Treasury, who naturally took the lions share of the remainder.
    The Amusement with Prizes industry continued to be restricted to the above pitiful sums and unsurprisingly withered and died on the vine shortly after.
    Thus a large world leading manufacturing industry, export led and employing thousands, was destroyed in short order, as the home demand died away and with it the base that supported the exporting effort.
    The National Lottery today provides only shop counter employment on lottery days and associated queues that delay transactions in the outlets normal goods and services.
    As for funding the ‘good causes’, the great and the good land and property owners have developed forms of words along with descriptive categories that enable them to qualify for hand outs of funds, with some eyebrow raising applications being met with the response that the project was too small but would be acceptable were it to be quadrupled in size.
    Before embarking on any legislation, ask cui bono? and not immediately but also in the future as these subsidy farmers play a very long game.

    • rose
      Posted November 13, 2018 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

      This was about the first thing they did after getting rid of Mrs Thatcher. Sad.

  42. Geoff not Hoon
    Posted November 13, 2018 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

    Normally I would agree with Duncan above but having worked for many years in Citizens Advice I can confirm that too many a percentage of those addicted to such gambling are those least able to afford it. If society has to legislate to protect such people from themselves so be it. Im sure in the long run were it left unchecked the social cost of inaction would fall on us all anyway.

    • mancunius
      Posted November 13, 2018 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

      An excellent point, Geoff. Ultimately we all have to pay the price for addiction.

      I can’t help feeling that a poorer basic education in numeracy and finance is to blame.
      At school, we learnt mental arithmetic at seven, at the age of eleven we were taught about compound interest and a year later about the mathematical laws of chance.

      Today? I wonder.

  43. rose
    Posted November 13, 2018 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

    What would Mrs T have said? She would have said “Get on with it.” Gambling of this kind is a tax on the poor. She didn’t approve of that.

  44. Stephen Berry
    Posted November 13, 2018 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

    Where would we be if politicians were not there to protect us from ourselves?

    Occasionally, like millions of other people I have put money into gaming machines. Again, like millions of other people, I survived to tell the tale. Because there are a small number of people who drink to excess, is the government proposing that the number of beers which the public might drink in a pub be limited, no doubt with the publicans providing a report on this for the authorities? Remember that addiction itself is a definite choice by the individual and can be changed by an act of will.

    But why pick on gaming machines alone? Is the stake at the roulette wheel in a London casino to be limited too? And what if I go into a casino and decide to take part in a game of poker. Will the amount I can bet be limited by law?

    This government is in danger of being seen as a complete interfering nuisance with its monitoring of plastic bags, cups and straws, not to mention its policing of gender numbers in firms. Please could it try to bring in a measure which would enhance people’s freedoms, if only for a bit of variety?

  45. mancunius
    Posted November 13, 2018 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

    John, as you are asking for our views, I’d say that
    1) It appears these machines are particularly open to abuse, and that reducing the maximum stake would appear sensible
    2) extending the waiting period to do so to next October does not seem necessary. If the country is expected to prepare for Brexit by the end of March 2019, there is no reason why an industry cannot accommodate such a simple change within the same period of time. If it reduces their profit margins, their executives are well-paid enough to find ways of mitigiating the losses and launching new products between now and April.
    3) I thought the Treasury had objected that they had inadequate time to equalise the fiscal effect? But they too are surely not paid to hang around. As somebody who often has only 24 hours or less to address and solve a working problem, I have little sympathy with Mr Hammond’s team.

  46. NickW
    Posted November 13, 2018 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

    I support an early ban which is in the interests of the electorate.

    The electorate should be considered before the lobbyists and the Gambling industry.

  47. SW
    Posted November 13, 2018 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

    I support the early ban. I appreciate many respondents feel that gamblers should be free to wreck their own lives and take responsibility for the outcome. However, this does not address the hardship wrought upon dependants, especially children, of those who spend beyond their means. I am sure that this results in costs for the ordinary taxpayer far in excess of the tax take by the chancellor. Privatised profit, socialised cost at work. If a death in a motor accident costs society £1M, how much is a gambling related suicide?

  48. Paul
    Posted November 13, 2018 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

    I would urge you to add your name to the list. These machines, the “crack cocaine of gambling”, do not belong on the high street. They belong in the casino. The problem is they are always littered in poorer areas where they do most damage. People are entitled to gamble but these machines are unique and it is unacceptable to push the legislation back to next October. People’s lives matter, including the children and local community of the hardcore addicts – government needs to change its policy.

  49. Steve
    Posted November 13, 2018 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

    It’s governments that caused the problem, by allowing the big boys in.

    How for example do they justify allowing the building of a casino in a northern town where unemployment and serious debt are the norm? Immoral, is what it is.

  50. ferdinand
    Posted November 13, 2018 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

    Actions which severely affect the user and his/her family members because of an addiction deserve our serious attention. There seems to be a close connection between the results that drug, alcohol, and gaming addictions produce on families. It is understandable therefore that the reduction in stake is highly attractive.

  51. Helen Smith
    Posted November 13, 2018 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

    Please get the max stake reduced ASAP. It upsets me how many betting ads are on Sky, another Bliar legacy.

  52. Colin Hart
    Posted November 13, 2018 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

    The issue is whether there should be a delay in implementing the ban. No one seemed too bothered about the ban in the first place. Just get on and do it when you said you would do it. The bookies have had plenty of time to prepare. It can’t be that difficult to re-engineer the machines. Heavens above, next we will have the CBI saying they want an even longer ‘implementation’ period for Brexit.

  53. Narrow Shoulders
    Posted November 13, 2018 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

    May I complement those commenting above on the thoughtful posts (for the most part).

  54. Den
    Posted November 13, 2018 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

    Gambling is as bad as an addition as smoking. It devastates lives. Smoking is addressed in taxation and in written warnings to defer the attraction. The same should apply to gambling. Especially machine gambling and ALL on-line casinos.

  55. margaret
    Posted November 13, 2018 at 6:40 pm | Permalink

    I personally don’t ever gamble, but I have seen how gambling clubs attract many obsessional people. They keep putting more and more coins into the machines. Some watch whilst others put money in to try and assess when the time is right for a pay out.Some hit the jackpot of £ 2,000 and go home and tell all how lucky they have been,. They haven’t opened up about the £ 3,000 they spent trying to empty the slot machines of their goodies.
    I would be careful about the limits. I think it is probably more important to restrict the use of machines in places where they are too easily accessed.

  56. Richard Elsy
    Posted November 13, 2018 at 10:34 pm | Permalink

    The less the Government has to do with people, within reason, the less costs and interference. I don’t think that wasting £100 is a good idea on a one off bet. I don’t think that offering finance to a 21 year old on a £7,000 BMW with a 3.0 litre turbo engine is very clever either. I’m not quite sure where we end up with ever-increasing legislation.

  57. Sybil
    Posted November 14, 2018 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

    The only people who need to gamble £100 per spin are those laundering large amounts of cash. To them the bookie’s profit is simply a cost of doing business.

  58. DaveK
    Posted November 14, 2018 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

    You will never stop the gambler in men, you can change the nature of the game from an addiction to an event. So yes to to betting caps but balanced with that the industry matures to being entertainment and quite possibly a sponsored event sport since those addicted resemble the mindset of pro athletes. They are certainly not addicted to the money they lose in the same way 100,000’s of young men each year throw away their health & productive years to get the chance of getting into a Premier league club of which most have only a team with 25 men (500) of which most are international players and there will not be a vacancy for 8 years, now thats a gamble.

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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