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Curbing FOBTs is a big win – now bookies’ racing bet practices must go | Greg Wood

After bookmakers lost their ignominious battle against shop roulette stakes being cut to £2, bookies’ licences should enforce minimum bet guarantees on racing and other sports

After a 15-year campaign the announcement on Thursday that the maximum stake on Fixed Odds Betting Terminals will be cut to £2 felt like the final stop on a very long journey. While there is still an outside chance the decision will be challenged, the blunt language of Matt Hancock, the digital, culture, media and sport secretary, calling the machines a “social blight” and talking about the “misery” FOBTs have caused, suggests the bookies’ battle has been utterly lost. Any recourse to the courts would simply delay the inevitable.

Some bookmakers, in fact, have already started to plan for a FOBT-free future – or a roulette-free future, at any rate, since that is the game that should never have been let loose at £100 a spin in the first place.

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