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News for Stop the FOBTs
£2 limit to curb ‘crack cocaine’ of gambling

The maximum stake on fixed odds betting terminals – dubbed the crack cocaine of high street gambling – is set to be reduced to £2 following the closure of the public consultation on January 23rd.

Initial proposals in October 2017 offered reductions in the maximum stake on the machines between £50 and £2, but the understanding is that the “overwhelming” response to the public consultation has persuaded the Government to opt for the £2 maximum stake.

This story was picked up by The Times.

Theresa May backs cut to top stake for fixed odds betting terminals

With a new Culture Secretary in place following a Cabinet reshuffle, Theresa May confirmed for the first time this month that the maximum stake for ‘crack cocaine’ gambling machines will be cut, however, there has been no announcement on what the new maximum stake will be as of yet.

New Culture Secretary Matt Hancock is reported to have come down in favour of the decision to reduce the maximum stake on FOBT machines to £2, branding the machines a ‘social blight’.

The story was picked up by The Daily Mail here and here.

Bid to rein in child betting games on the internet

The children’s commissioner is demanding a crackdown on online games that simulate betting amid fears that they will hook the next generation of problem gamblers.

Anne Longfield expressed that games that are widely available on smartphones and tablets encourage the “worst kinds of addictive behaviour” by introducing young people to the excitement and rewards of gambling even when not playing with real money.

Late in January, it was revealed that following a complaint submitted by the Campaign, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) is to examine whether cartoon games on gambling websites, such as the Fairytale Legends series and Santa Paws, target children.

This story was picked up by The Times here and here, The Daily Mail and Casino News Daily.

Fixed-odds betting terminals: ‘It’s a silent addiction but at its worst it takes lives’

As the government consultation period drew to a close, The Guardian heard from those most affected by FOBTs, including a former FOBT addict, a betting shop employee and family members of addicts.

The former FOBT addict turned campaigner details just how easy it was for him to become hooked on the machines, as the pace of gambling sped up and machines multiplied in number.

The betting shop employee gives his view from the inside, detailing watching individuals lose thousands of pounds in a single sitting, and how much revenue FOBTs were making the bookmakers in question.

The daughter of a gambler tells how her father’s betting habits have changed from a flutter on the horse races, to spending a majority of his time playing on FOBTs, eventually leading to a decision to self-exclude.

This story ran in The Guardian.

Central Lobby round-up

As always, we have been working away writing for Politics Home Central Lobby this month to highlight the key issues in the battle again FOBTs.

At the beginning of the month, the Campaign penned an article on a FOBT supplier being behind gambling apps on Facebook. This was after a news story about gambling type apps appearing on social media, which raised concerned that children are being exposed to a ‘risk of addiction’.

We then wrote about a Gambling Commission list of betting operators whose licences are at risk and voiced why betting shops are no longer the safest place to gamble. As the Gambling Commission has identified 17 operators with significant failings, with five of these being advised that their licence is at-risk, it was interesting that business journalists had not commented on the stories, and stocks remained at the time unaffected.

Derek Webb, founder of the Campaign for Fairer Gambling penned a response to an article by Malcolm George, CEO of the Association of British Bookmakers which appeared in PR Week UK.

With a stake reduction already announced as policy, and a £2 option being placed on the table, we spoke about the likely next steps on FOBT stake levels as the 12-week consultation period ordered by Government in October drew to a close.

Lastly, we asked this week whether it is right that the sport of kings relies on subsidies from the crack cocaine of gambling, addressing concerns that a reduction in gambling on FOBTs would leave horseracing short-changed.

You can find a full round-up of all the stories we have penned for Politics Home Central Lobby by clicking here.

Gambling and FOBTs in the news

As always, FOBTs and the Stop the FOBTs campaign have been making waves elsewhere in the news this month.

Basildon Council is looking to tackle gambling and has responded to the Governments consultation on proposals relating to gaming machines and social responsibility measures.

David Linden, Glasgow East SNP MP, handed in a petition to 10 Downing Street with hundreds of names from his constituency demanding the maximum stake be cut from £100 to £2 on FOBTs.

Meanwhile, a new report revealed that Glasgow is the UK city worst-affected by high stakes FOBT machines, with the shocking cost of social harm being revealed.

Lastly, the mayor of Newham echoed the PM’s pledge to slash the maximum stake for fixed odds betting terminals. 

For more news from the Campaign and the battle against FOBTs, please visit our News and Events page and be sure to follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

If you missed out 2017 round-up newsletter, be sure to catch up here.


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