This piece of news has been hard to hide from in the closing days of October. The long-awaited DCMS triennial review has announced a 12-week consultation on a range of proposals. The options for the FOBT maximum stake are £50, our objective stake of £2, or an intermediate amount of £20 or £30.
The 12-week consultation period launched on October 31st to 'ensure stronger protections around online gambling', alongside a package of measures inteded to promote responsible gambling.
Not surprisingly, we have had an incredibly busy week offering our expert comment on fixed-odds betting terminals, their effects and of course on the DCMS triennial review. Campaign Spokesperson Matt Zarb-Cousin made multiple media appearances on the day of the review release, including Sky News, BBC News and The Jeremy Vine Show on BBC Radio 2.
The news has been covered by every national publiction and broadcaster in the past 48 hours. As well as this, countless regional publications have offered the local response to the news - most notably the response of Newham's Mayor Robin Wales in a Guardian op-ed.
Matt Zarb-Cousin shared his reaction to the triennial review in The New Statesman, drawing on his personal experience of FOBT addiction, and his expert opinion from years of campaigning.
As discussed in our Politics Home Central Lobby response article, we would have preferred to have prevailed in the 2013 review, when a reduction to £2 could easily have been adopted under the precautionary principle to protect consumers from the suspicion of harm. We feel the collective frustration of waiting for another consultation, but understand that DCMS must protext the evidence-based process and prevent the books from being able to succeed with a Judicial Review.
We welcome the next stage of the government's review of Fixed Odds Betting Terminals, social responsibility and advertising. The options indicate that the government will consider reducing the maximum stake on FOBTs to £2 a spin. We are confident that, when all the evidence has been considered, £2 will be judged to be the most approriate level.
The consultation period will close at midday on 23 January 2018, following which the Government will consider its final proposals.