Keep praying! The government has finally promised to slash the maximum stake for fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs) from £100 to just £2. We have prayed a lot about this. Why?

Here are some statistics around this social blight.

  • Those who are unemployed are more likely to most often stake £100 than any other socioeconomic group.
  • In a single year, there were more than 233,000 cases of individual gamblers losing more than £1,000
  • In England, 13.6% of players of such machines are problem gamblers – the highest rate for any major gambling activity. Players are disproportionately likely to live in areas of high deprivation.

They offer hope to those with little— and the result is misery for families and huge profits for the high street bookmakers.

The government said the stake limit would come into effect some time next year, but would not set an exact timetable. Tom Watson, the shadow culture secretary, said, “The great tragedy of this is [that] for five years now pretty much everyone in Westminster and Whitehall has known that these machines have had a very detrimental effect in communities up and down the land.”

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