Parliamentary group puts pressure on FOBTs

Parliamentary group puts pressure on FOBTs

Tuesday, May 31, 2016 Totally Gaming

A group of MPs from across the political spectrum says it wants “action taken” against fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs) in the UK.

The new FOBT All-Party Parliamentary Group has been set up to investigate the effects of the B2 machines and held its first meeting last week.

The group will hold its first formal hearing at the beginning of July, when it will take evidence from the Campaign for Fairer Gambling as well as academic reports on the psychological effects of FOBTs.

Chairman Carolyn Harris said: “This is not about gambling. We’re by no means anti-gambling. We’ve all grown up having the odd flutter on the Grand National but these machines are different. They are dangerous. Cocaine is dangerous so action is taken against it. We want to understand why nothing being done about these machines?”

The group has already written to Culture Secretary John Whittingdale outlining their concerns. In the letter, signed by members of all major parties, its members asked for a reduction in bets on FOBTs to £2.

They add: “Colleagues in both Houses made clear our concern about their impact on the young and vulnerable. Many have reported the tragic impact FOBTs are having on their lives.

“These machines are highly dangerous products, acting as a catalyst for problem gambling, social breakdown and serious crime in communities. It is estimated that 7,000 FOBT machines are smashed and there are 10,000 policy call outs to bookmakers as a result of FOBT related violence every year.”

TotallyGaming.com says: “Politicians seems to be increasingly turning its focus on FOBTs, with this Westminster group following on from last year’s Local Government Association-backed campaign to reduce the maximum stake to £2.”

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