The government announced this morning that the maximum stakes on fixed odds betting terminals are to be cut from £100 to £2 to clamp down on the risk of "gambling-related harm".
Figures published by stopthefobts.org show Deeside punters put almost £7.5m into the high stakes machines in 2016.
It's very concerning that these machines are disproportionately found in the poorer parts of society and therefore are having a devastating effect on some of the most vulnerable in society. "It's sad that huge profits seem to be of more importance than the wellbeing of the most vulnerable".
The opposition Labour Party's deputy leader Tom Watson said on his Facebook page: "This announcement signals the end of the reign of destruction and misery that FOBTs have brought on the lives of gambling addicts and their families and communities for too many years".
Bookmaker William Hill said it will see a reduction in total gaming net revenue of 35%-45% following the move.
However, following a review into the machines, Ms Crouch said FOBTs were "an outlier in the world of high-street gambling because of the speed with which it is possible to lose large amounts of money".
Despite warnings from a number of major gambling operators that such changes would lead to significant job losses across the industry, Tracey Crouch, Minister for Sport and Civil Society, said that new rules will now be put in place.
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So far, he said, there has been "not a single report of malfeasance or problems". The bill's proponents tout dignity, choice, compassion, and painlessness.
The statement said the government had sought to ensure the "right balance between a sector that can grow and contribute to the economy and one that is socially responsible and doing all it should to protect consumers and communities".
The government has not revealed what level it plans to raise the online tax to at this November's Budget, but an increase to 20% from the current 15% would appear to be the minimum, and it may opt for parity with the existing Machine Gaming Duty of 25%. "Today's move will have a short-term impact on our business, but we think it's a really important step towards building a sustainable industry".
- The Gambling Commission to toughen up protections around online gambling including stronger age verification rules and proposals for customer spending limits.
- A Public Health England review of the public health harms of gambling.
The government said it was created to reduce the potential for large losses and cut the risk of harm to players and the wider community.
Changes to the FOBT's maximum limit will need parliamentary approval.