I share the concerns that have been raised with me about the level of harm caused by fixed odds betting terminals. The Government has always been clear that protecting vulnerable people is the prime concern, but that as a responsible government it is also right to take the needs of those employed by the gambling industry into account and provide time for an orderly transition.
Parliamentary colleagues have been clear this change should be made as soon as possible and I am pleased that the Government has listened. The reduction will now come into effect in April 2019 and Ministers expect the industry to work with them, as well as engage with the cross-Whitehall group that has been set up to reduce any impact on jobs and to support staff that may be affected by the measure being brought forward. Ministers are confident that this innovative sector will step up, be able to adapt, and help to achieve the right balance between enabling people to bet responsibly and ensuring consumers and communities are protected.
The corresponding increase in remote gaming duty to 21 per cent will also come into effect next April to cover the negative impact on public finances, and to protect vital public services.
Of course, there are other factors which contribute to problem gambling, which is why the Government is not making this change in isolation. Other actions include strengthening protections around gaming machines, online gambling, gambling advertising and treatment for problem gambling.