Chancellor Philip Hammond Set To Back Down From Interfering With FOBT Probe
It now seems that just like a good politician, Hammond is speaking out of both sides of his mouth as he has now indicated that he will support the outcome of the review on FOBTs by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS). Hammond was reportedly blocking the efforts of the DCMS to limit the maximum stake on FOBTs to 2 pounds instead of 100 pounds due to fears that the government could lose hundreds of millions of pounds in tax revenues generated by what is dubbed the “crack cocaine” of the gambling world.
In a letter to Bishop of St Albans Alan Smith who is one of the groups pressuring the government for a crackdown, Hammond seemed to backtrack to his previous statements and said,”Recent media reports on the status of the review of gaming machines and social responsibility measures are entirely without foundation. Both I and my department fully support DCMS’s work to ensure the UK’s gambling regime continues to balance the needs of vulnerable people, consumers who gamble responsibly, and those who work in this sector.”
Smith reportedly sought assurances from Hammond that the findings of the DCMS which are expected to result in a clampdown on FOBTS will not be blocked. The findings of the reviews are only expected to be released by the end of October at earliest.