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Sports Minister Crouch resigns over delay of £2 betting machines

The UK's sports minister Tracey Crouch has resigned from her position following the delay in reducing stakes for fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs).

The betting machines which include games such as poker, blackjack and roulette, can commonly be found in high street bookmakers. The current issue that Crouch is championing is that there is maximum stake is currently at £100, allowing players to spend £100 every 20 seconds which can easily get out of control – something that Crouch has referred to as 'crack cocaine' because it is dangerously addictive.

The machines are typically loud, bright, located strategically next to the front door and are unsupervised by staff, allowing those to bet and continue to do so without interference.

Crouch has been campaigning heavily for the maximum stake to be changed to £2 and she received promises from Parliament saying that this would be completed by May 2018, only for further pushback to a revised date of October 2019. The delay has caused her to quite her position as sports minister, something she says with 'no regrets.'

She explains: "Changing the stakes can save households an extra £1.6 billion per year, something that can be put right back into my constituency."

"In addition, two people will tragically take their lives every day due to gambling-related problems and for that reason as much as any other I believe this delay is unjustifiable."

The minister has received responses from gambling companies saying that the minimum stake of £2 would significantly affect profits and jobs in their industry. Others have argued that customers can still access these games online and continue to bet through their mobile or tablet. The online casino industry is worth an estimated £13.9 billion in the UK with large players including 888, William Hill and Top Casino Bonus.

Crouch has received praise from other politicians for sticking to her principles and staying true to her cause.

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