Cross-Party support for £2 stake on Fixed Odds Betting Terminals
The Fixed Odds Betting Terminals All Party Group held a cross-party ‘Rally for £2’ on Wednesday 22nd November.
The strength of the campaign’s coalition was evident as the rally heard from leading figures in the campaign including the group’s Chair Carolyn Harris MP, Former Work and Pension Secretary and Conservative Leader, Rt Hon Iain Duncan Smith MP, SNP MP Ronnie Cowan MP and Former Liberal Democrat Minister Lord Foster of Bath. The rally also heard from, Sir Robin Wales, the Labour Mayor of the London Borough of Newham who put forward a Sustainable Communities Act petition alongside 93 other councils, calling for a £2 stake on these machines, and media personality Alexis Conran.
At the end of last month, the government published its proposals to the Review on stakes and prizes. The government is seeking to reduce the stake on FOBTs from £100 to between £50 and £2, and has launched a 12 week public consultation on the stake options. The Group, along with many other associations and authorities, is campaigning for the high £100 stake on FOBTs to be cut to £2. A significant cut in the stake will go a long way in protecting the vulnerable and tackling the harm that is being caused by the machines that are seen on our high streets.
The packed audience included former FOBT addicts, campaign organisations – Campaign for Fairer Gambling and wider stakeholders – Royal Society of Public Health and the Local Government Association.
Carolyn Harris MP said:
“I am delighted with the amount of cross party support the campaign has gained and the APPG has been extremely successful in raising awareness of the significant harm caused by FOBTs amongst Parliamentarians. But the hard work is not over and we must keep up the pressure on the Government during the consultation period in the hope they propose a favourable change for a £2 stake.”
Ronnie Cowan MP said;
“The Campaign for Fairer Gambling estimate that in Inverclyde cash inserted into FOBTs in 2016 was £11,527,602. This led to loses of just under £3m for that year alone.
“Through the work of the All-party parliamentary group we’ve taken evidence from a number of organisations and individuals who’ve been affected by gambling related harm and in-particular FOBTs. The call for a £2 maximum stake on FOBTs is echoed by Members from all mainstream parties.
“Gambling related harm is an issue which is rightly receiving more attention and it’s vital the Government listen to the many people who are highlighting how FOBTs are having a detrimental effect on society.
“I urge people to respond to the Government’s consultation on ‘Gaming Machines and Social Responsibility Measures’ and ensure they know that the maximum unit stake on FOBTs must be reduced to £2. This will be a step in the right direction and help ensure less individuals and their families lives are ruined by these machines.
Lord Don Foster said:
“Since 2009, when I first argued for it ,I have campaigned for a £2 maximum stake for FOBTs. The arguments for it are overwhelming not least to reduce the human misery that these machines cause. But more is needed; a reduction in spin rates and number of machines in each betting office and an increase in staffing (to improve supervision) and of powers to local councils to tackle betting shop clustering on our High Streets. I hope they will all be included in the government’s response to the current consultation.”
Mayor Sir Robin Wales said:
“Residents tell us that their high streets are dominated by betting shops. We know that these outlets cluster in deprived areas and are linked to crime and anti-social behaviour. We have had support from industry, charities, faith groups and parliamentarians. However, the Government has continued to drag its feet on this issue.
“Our residents cannot afford any further delay. Last year, in Newham alone, it is estimated that nearly £20 million was lost on FOBTs. Only a stake reduction of £2 will provide protections for our residents and promote responsible gambling. Anything over this will just continue to perpetuate the problem.
“Ultimately, the only socially responsible measure on FOBT stakes is to reduce them. If the Government sets the maximum stake level is set at anything over £2, it will show that the Treasury is putting exchequer profits before people”.
Further information on the All Party Group can be found at www.fobt-appg.com
Notes to Editors
- The Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBT) All Party Parliamentary Group has been created to provide a forum for discussion and further investigation into the impact of FOBTs in our communities. This group, powered by the passion of the members in both houses of Parliament on this issue, allows a coordinated effort among politicians of all political parties, to come together to discuss how best to address the issues that FOBTs are causing to our communities.
- For more information, please contact Carolyn Harris MP, the Chair of the Fixed Odds Betting Terminals All Party Parliamentary Group or the secretariat for the Group: Tosin Adedayo adedayo T: 020 7592 3825