Crouch
Tracey Crouch

Sports Minister Tracey Crouch says bye to DCMS over FOBTs delay

UK Sports Minister Tracey Crouch has resigned from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sports (DCMS), in relation to the government’s delay in implementing its £2 FOBTs stake reduction.

Crouch had served as Sports Minister since 2015, leading the government’s relations with the UK betting and gambling sectors.

Monday’s 2018 Budget announcemensaw the Treasury confirm that it would implement its controversial £2 FOBTs cut on October 2019, alongside an increase in remote-gambling-duty (RGD) from 15-21%.

Expecting the government to confirm that it would move ahead with a desired April 2019 deadline on FOBTs, Crouch and fellow cross-party ministers had deemed the delay as ‘unjustifiable’.

Despite protests, the government has stood by its decision, stating that it needed to maintain its October 2019 date in order to avoid any shortfall in industry taxes.

The £2 reduction on FOBTs wagering has become a controversial matter for the government, leading to a well-documented rift between DCMS and the Treasury.

Publishing her letter of resignation to PM Theresa May, Crouch, stated that the government’s decision was an ‘unnecessary measure’ and that FOBTs wagering would continue to target the UK’s most deprived areas including her constituency of Chatham and Aylesford in Kent.

“The alignment of the stake reduction with an increase in remote gaming duty was a condition put on by the Treasury to provide fiscal neutrality but is not a technical necessity,” she added, “so there is no reason why implementation cannot come sooner than October.”

The office of PM May would  issue an immediate response to Crouch’s resignation, defending its agreed timeframe – “We listened to those who wanted it to come into effect sooner than April 2020 and have agreed that the changes should be in place within the year – by October 2019.

“We must ensure that this change can be implemented in an orderly and effective manner to make sure it delivers the results we all want to see.”

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