Andrew Castle Slams Government Over "Delayed" Gambling Crackdown

3 November 2018, 08:11 | Updated: 3 November 2018, 08:37

The maximum stake on fixed-odds betting terminals is to be cut in October 2019, but Andrew Castle says the gambling crackdown needs to happen quicker.

Philip Hammond announced that the plan to cut the maximum stake for fixed-odds betting terminals (FOTB) from £100 to £2 will come into force in October 2019.

But sports minister Tracey Crouch resigned after pushing for the reduction to come into force earlier.

Andrew Castle was critical of the announcement, saying that there was no reason for not changing it sooner.

"It's going to be another year until we get rid of these things," he said. "Get rid of them! Stop listening to the lobbying interests, they're doing damage and I don't believe in a nanny state in every regard but this, people are losing their lives over this."

In her resignation letter, Tracey Crouch said that pushing back the date to cut the FOTB maximum stake to £2 was "unjustifiable".

"Unfortunately, implementation of these changes are now being delayed until October 2019 due to commitments made by others to those with registered interests," she said.

She tweeted: "Politicians come and go but principles stay with us forever."

Prime Minister Theresa May said that she was disappointed by the resignation, and that there was "no delay in bringing forward this important measure".

But former Conservative leader Iain Duncan Smith said there was an expectation that the cut would be introduced by April or May 2019.

Speaking to Andrew Castle, he said: "The problem has been that the industry said they need longer."

"We've always assumed the delay was to April or May next year, and now we hear that it's delayed until October."