ABB reacts to councils’ new push for FOBT stake limits

ABB reacts to councils’ new push for FOBT stake limits

Monday, December 21, 2015 Totally Gaming
The Government rejected the move by 93 councils in July

The Association of British Bookmakers (ABB) has questioned the rationale behind 93 UK local councils resubmitting proposals for a £2 maximum stake on fixed odds betting terminals (FOBTs).

The group of authorities, led by Newham Council, saw its plan for a reduction of the maximum stake from £100 rejected by the Government in July.

The decision was criticised by opponents of FOBTs, and was said to be unpopular among many Conservative MPs, but an ABB spokesman told the BBC that while the organisation wants to work closely with councils, the organisation is unsure what is to be gained by putting forward the same proposals just five months later.

“The government made a decision on this issue just months ago and highlighted that local authorities have sufficient powers, via the licensing process, to manage the presence of betting shops on the high street,” the spokesman said. “The ABB and its members will continue to work with local authorities and the LGA in partnership to develop initiatives that are relevant to local communities.”

The Local Government Association (LGA) will now hold talks with the Government over the next six months to establish the best way forward in regards to the proposed changes.

Newham Mayor Sir Robin Wales added: “By reducing the profits made on these machines, bookmakers will be forced to think again about their shop numbers. The government must now listen, and not miss this opportunity to act in support of 93 councils representing an astounding 23 million people.”

TotallyGaming.com reported in October that Wigan Council had used the foreword of its policy statement for 2016 to 2019 to express “concern” over FOBTs and support for a £2 maximum stake. The inclusion of these points in the policy document had been opposed by the ABB and bookmakers.

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