David Crausby MP has welcomed the Government’s decision to hold a review into the impact of Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs).
As many as 600,000 people in the UK may take part in “problem gambling” according to government figures. FOBTs have been highlighted as a growing concern as they spread in highstreets across the country. More than £1.7bn was gambled using the machines last year.
In 2014 Bolton Councillors unanimously supported calls for the Government to grant additional powers to Local Authorities to tackle the growth of FOBTs in town centre bookmakers’. Across the country 92 councils passed similar motions.
The Department for Culture, Media and Sport-led review will assess the gaming industry’s impact on individuals and communities. It will look at FOBTs and their users; who risk losing hundreds of pounds in minutes on simple games played at a fast pace like roulette. The review will consider whether the current maximum stake of £100 is too high, as well as the value of prizes offered by the machines.
Bolton North East MP David Crausby said:
“I am very pleased that the Government have finally acknowledged this issue after years of calls by the Labour Party and Labour Councils across the country.
“I have always said that the environment of betting shops, with the protections they can provide, is much better than online gambling. However, it is clear that we are seeing too many shops clustered in deprived areas, and some towns face major problems with Fixed Odds Betting Terminals. I hope that the review seriously considers proposals to improve the powers available to local Councils and to bring stakes in line with other gaming machines.”