Betting machine crackdown 'delay' could be scrapped, says MP

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MPs have alleged the government has delayed plans to cut the maximum stake on betting terminals

Plans to cut the maximum stake on fixed-odds betting terminals from £100 to £2 could be brought forward to April, a Welsh Labour MP has said.

Carolyn Harris said MPs could make the government overturn an alleged six month delay to the plan.

She said a cross-party group wants to "force the government to do the right thing".

The UK government has denied that MPs were led to believe the cut would come into force in April.

Ms Crouch stood down after Chancellor Philip Hammond said in the Budget the cut in stakes from £100 to £2 would come into force in October 2019.

She said pushing back the date was "unjustifiable" and it could cost the lives of problem gamblers.

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Swansea East MP Carolyn Harris said there was a "realistic chance" MPs would back bringing in the cut in April

Speaking on Monday, Carolyn Harris, who chairs the all-party parliamentary group on fixed odds betting terminals, told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "We're going to be tabling a new clause and amendment to the Finance Bill and force the government into doing the right thing."

The Welsh Labour deputy leader said there was a "very realistic chance" that MPs would back bringing in the cut to April 2019 when they discuss the Finance Bill.

"There's a huge feeling in the House that this is the wrong decision and we need to implement it as a matter of urgency."

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Tracey Crouch resigned from her ministerial job earlier this month

She added: "Iain Duncan Smith [the Conservative MP] and I have become a big tag-team on this. We've not strong-armed, people have very willingly given us their consent."

Ms Harris' amendment is due to be tabled late on Tuesday. A vote could take place next week - Ms Harris is hoping the government will concede before her amendment is debated on the floor of the House.

Fixed-odds betting terminals generate £1.8bn in revenue a year for the betting industry, according to the Gambling Commission, and taxes of £400m for the government.

Currently, people can bet up to £100 every 20 seconds on electronic casino games such as roulette. Anti-gambling campaigners say the machines let players lose money too quickly, leading to addiction and social, mental and financial problems.

But bookmakers have warned the cut in stakes could lead to thousands of outlets closing.

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