Bacta to voice members’ outrage over B2 delay at Treasury meeting


A senior delegation of Bacta figures comprising National President Gabi Stergides, Vice President James Miller and Chief Executive John White, will meet with officials from The Treasury next week to convey the industry’s outrage over the proposed delay in implementing the £2 stake on FOBTs and to outline the case for reducing MGD on SWP machines from 20% to 5%. The meeting will be held on Wednesday 25th July at The Treasury.

Previewing the Bacta position, John White said: “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?” He continued: “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.”

Bacta will also be putting its strong empirical arguments in favour of reducing MGD on SWP machines before the genre disappears completely from British pubs. John White explained: “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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