Carolyn Harris MP has criticised the Government’s failure to bring down the maximum allowed stake on Fixed Odds Betting Terminals from £100 to £2 after the long-awaited review was released today.
Carolyn Harris MP is Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Fixed Odds Betting Terminals and has campaigned to tighten control on FOBTs gaming machines which have been described as the ‘crack cocaine of gambling’ and have caused huge damage to families and communities across the country.
FOBTs machines allow users to gamble up to £100 every 20 seconds, which can lead to huge losses, wider societal issues and family breakdown.
British gamblers lost a total of £1.7 billion on FOBTs in 2015, and 11.5% of all FOBTs users are serious gambling addicts.
Today, following a much delayed review, and sustained pressure from the All Party Parliamentary Group on Fixed Odds Betting Terminals, the Labour Party and gambling campaigners, the Government has announced a further consultation on the maximum stake allowed on FOBTs, rather than take firm action to curb these addictive machines.
Restrictions on the machines would have a huge positive impact on the local area.
Figures compiled for the Campaign for Fairer Gambling estimate that there are 15 FOBTs in Swansea East alone, with local residents losing £489,578 between 2015-16 and a total of £3,316,822 between 2008-2016.
Carolyn Harris, MP for Swansea East, said:
“Families across the country have been devastated by the effects of gambling addiction which is too often accompanied by theft and substance abuse. The Government and gambling industry have a social responsibility to ensure that these highly addictive machines are more highly regulated.
“I am hopeful that the Government will see sense and reduce the maximum stake to £2, as anything higher than that figure will be a failure in my eyes.
“I would urge everyone to feed in to the consultation before 23rd January 2018 and state their reasons for a £2 maximum stake being the only reasonable option.”
Notes to editors
- The constituency figures are estimates compiled by economic consultancy Landman Economics on behalf of the Campaign for Fairer Gambling, by cross-referencing data released by the Gambling Commission and the Responsible Gambling Trust https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/jun/06/tories-fobt-gambling-labour
- You can contribute to the consultation on Gaming Machines and Social Responsibility Measures online here: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/3XGGFP7