Ministers have announced plans to consult on plans to crack down on controversial betting machines known as the crack cocaine of gambling.
The Government is to consult on slashing the maximum stake in fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs) from £100 to between £50 and £2.
It is vital that we strike the right balance between socially-responsible growth and protecting the most vulnerable, including children, from gambling-related harm.Culture Minister Tracey Crouch
The high-stake, high-speed electronic casino games are said to be dangerously addictive, and currently allow a stake of up to £100 every 20 seconds, allowing a player to theoretically gamble away £18,000 an hour.
A 12-week consultation is being launched on the proposals, which are aimed at reducing the potential for large losses on the machines.
The Government has also asked the Gambling Commission for more information about how better tracking and monitoring of play on FOBTs might be used to protect players.
The Campaign for Fairer Gambling estimates there are more than 70 of the machines in Hartlepool, and punters blow more than £2.2million a year on them.
Culture minister Tracey Crouch said: “It is vital that we strike the right balance between socially-responsible growth and protecting the most vulnerable, including children, from gambling-related harm.”
The announcement is part of a package of measures announced in the Government’s gambling review.
Raising standards of player protection for online gambling, a responsible gambling campaign and new advertising guidelines are among a raft of suggestions designed to help minimise the risk to vulnerable people and children.
Strengthening the code on responsible gambling advertising and responsible gambling initiatives are also being considered.
The Gambling Commission is to look at changes to the Licence Conditions and Codes of Practice next year, aimed at strengthening player protection online.
It is to set out expectations for the industry for customer interaction online.
An annual budget of £5 million to £7 million has been earmarked for a two-year advertising campaign backed by GambleAware, Advertising Association, broadcasters and gambling industry groups.
It will include TV adverts, including around live sport, as well as radio, cinema, online and print.
It is to be funded by gambling operators, including online-only betting firms, with airspace and digital media provided by broadcasters.
In an effort to protect children and young people, new advertising guidelines are to be drawn up by the Committees of Advertising Practice (CAP) to see that adverts do not encourage impulsive or socially irresponsible gambling.