IN MAY, the government agreed to slash the highest-permitted stake on Fixed-Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs) to £2 after concluding they were a “social blight”.

While it has emerged that this may be delayed until 2020, Bolton North East MP Sir David Crausby - who last year likened FOBTs to “crack cocaine” - has said cutting the maximum stake will not work unless there is also better financial education to inform people about the “serious dangers of gambling”.

However, he has also warned that people should be able to take the decision into their own hands.

He said: “With slot machines in general, people have got to make up their own minds about it. I have always taken the view that people should be cautious , but the state shouldn’t regulate to the point that people can’t do anything.”

However, he said he was in favour of the law requiring pubs to apply for permission to have more than two machines on their premises. He said: “I think we have got to be careful about filling pubs with slot machines and gambling machines, but I don’t see an issue with having two.

“I’m sure some pubs would like more machines, but my view is that two is probably about right, but I’m happy to listen to evidence that’s not the case, but it’s not something people write to me on a regular basis about.”