Minister Tracey Crouch resigns over govt's delay to betting laws

Thu 01 Nov 2018
By Cara Bentley

The sports minister Tracey Crouch has resigned because of the government's delay to change the amount a gambler can bet in one go. 

The Conservative MP for Chatham and Aylesford wrote on twitter: "It is with great sadness I have resigned from one of the best jobs in Government. Thank you so much for all the very kind messages of support I have received throughout the day. Politicians come and go but principles stay with us forever."

Crouch attached her letter of resignation to the Prime Minister which begins: "Your personal support earlier this year for a reduction in the stake of fixed odds betting terminals (FOBTs) was incredibly welcome" and says the move was a 'real reflection' of the Prime Minister's ambitions to support vulnerable people. 

However, she continues: "Unfortunately, implementation of these changes are now being delayed until October 2019 due to the commitments made by others to those with registered interests."

She adds that this delay will earn the gambling industry £1.6bn, mostly gleaned from "our most deprived areas, including my won 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". 

FOBTs have been dubbed the ‘crack cocaine of gambling’ as they are highly addictive and gamblers can bet £100 every 20 seconds on the machines.

The government announced in May this year that they would make a huge reduction in the amount you could bet each time, down to £2. 

However, the Government said this week that this would not happen for another 12 months. 

Deputy Labour leader Tom Watson has praised Tracey Crouch's decision to resign as "courageous and principled", accusing the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Jeremy Wright, of prioritising "corporate interests over victims, profits over public health and greed over good" in delaying the changes in betting terminals.

Writing on Twitter about the outgoing sports and civil society minister, he said: "She poured her heart and soul into a significant review of these destructive machines, faced down a systematic lobbying attempt by the gambling industry and took the right decision for those suffering from problem gambling, their families and communities."

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