The Campaign for Fairer Gambling reflects on the Queen’s Speech and looks ahead to any future policy changes on fixed odds betting terminal stake levels.
The general election was called by Theresa May because, she argued, this would strengthen her hand in the Brexit negotiations.
Having failed to secure a majority, Mrs May must now look to compromise on her manifesto commitments in order to appease other parties. The Labour and Lib Dem manifestos contained commitments to reduce the maximum stake on FOBTs to £2 a spin. The Conservative manifesto had no such commitment.
Sources close to Number 10 have indicated that the policy team are looking for proposals that would secure cross party support. This would cover off two eventualities: either there is a deal with the DUP and the Conservatives need to show that their programme is not too right wing. Or there is no deal, and the Conservatives have no choice but to compromise with other parties to get legislation through.
Both of these eventualities make the government’s review more likely to recommend reducing the stake to £2 a spin, as all other main parties support it. This is why analysts have noted that a hung Parliament makes a substantial stake reduction more likely.
While there wasn’t anything on FOBTs or gambling in the Queen’s Speech, and we wouldn’t expect there to be given the ongoing review, the contents are a strong indicator of the direction Theresa May will now take: necessary legislation to make Brexit work, and proposals that will have cross party support.
We await the government’s recommendation on stake reduction, confident that there is now a majority in the House of Commons that supports Fairer Gambling’s objective.