The Bishop of St Albans reiterated his support for lowering the maximum stakes on fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs) after Philip Hammond warned it could create a £400 million gap for the treasury.
The Rt Rev Alan Smith told the chancellor: “Clergy and congregations are providing frontline support for a great many vulnerable people who are at risk of gambling-related harm, and whose lives are often blighted by the presence of FOBTs on our high streets.
“They see daily the effects of the £1.82 bullion that was lost on these machines last year.
Users can currently wager up to £100 per go on the machines but the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport – which conducted a review of the machines – is seeking a lower limit of between £5 and £2.
It has been reported the chancellor was block the move unless any consequential loss for the Government’s coffers is made up elsewhere.
Bishop Alan also said: “I understand the pressure on public services and am aware that a reduction in maximum stakes would have tax revenue implications.
“However, given the levels of existing gambling-related harm, I hope that the review might be published without undue delay.”
Earlier this year, the Church of England’s governing body, the General Synod, called for a £2 cap on FOBTs.
The Church of England has urged the Government not to let tax revenue concerns derail moves to restrict addictive betting machines.