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Bacta members to voice B2 outrage in Treasury meeting

Bacta has detailed that its members are to convey industry outrage over a proposed delay in implementing the £2 stake on FOBTs (fixed odds betting terminals), at a Treasury meeting next week.

The meeting, which is set to be held at The Treasury on Wednesday 25 July, will see a senior delegation of figures from the UK trade association, including National President Gabi Stergides, Vice President James Miller and Chief Executive John White, meet with a number of officials.

Explaining the position of Bacta, White commented: “The government has taken the decision to reduce the maximum stake (on FOBTs) to £2, it’s taken the credit for making that reduction so why is it taking two years to implement?

“The bookies are pushing the quite ludicrous argument that it will take two years to make the technological adjustments necessary to reduce the stake when everyone who is involved in the FOBT supply chain knows that’s abject nonsense.

“We also know that the bookies have been scenario planning for a variety of outcomes, and it’s inconceivable that the £2 stake has come as a shock when the weight of opinion from the Church of England to The Royal Society for Public Health has been in favour of such a reduction.

“Bearing in mind the examples of human tragedy caused by FOBTs, this delay is both reprehensible and totally avoidable.”

Also set to form part of the agenda for Bacta is the Machine Games Duty (MGD) on skill with prize (SWP) machines, which it is to outline a further case with a view to seeing its reduction from 20 per cent to five per cent.

White concluded: “A reduction in the rate of MGD has long been an ambition of Bacta. SWPs or quiz machines were part of the culture of many pubs and they are now close to disappearing entirely.

“The cost to the Treasury of such a change is negligible and could be facilitated by a simple amendment to the Finance Act. We are hopeful of a sympathetic hearing based on the facts.”

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