Council leader welcomes review of high stakes gambling machines
Published: Tuesday 21st November 17
Council leader Ravi Govindia has backed calls for new restrictions on the sums of cash that can be gambled on high-stakes fruit machines amid growing concerns they’re fuelling a rise in gambling addiction across the country.
Cllr Govindia, a long standing critic of the spread of fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs), has welcomed a new Government consultation into reducing the amounts that can be staked on these machines.
The Department for Culture, Media and Sport has launched a review of FOBTs and the role they may be playing in driving up levels of problem-gambling.
Cllr Govindia has repeatedly voiced concerns about the spread of these machines into the high street and has been a vocal supporter of a cross-party campaign by the Local Government Association to limit the impact of betting shops and their FOBTs.
These high stakes fruit machines are viewed as particularly dangerous because they allow people to wager - and potentially lose – hundreds of pounds a minute.
Now ministers are consulting on proposals that could see the maximum stake limited to just £2.
Cllr Govindia said: “I would urge people to take part in this Government consultation so that public pressure can be brought to bear in drawing up new rules for this industry.
“I am certainly of the view that a maximum stake of £2 is the right approach. I hope the spread of these harmful machines can be curtailed and that the damaging impact they can have on vulnerable members of our community can be eliminated.”
The spread of FOBTs plus the proliferation of betting shops in high streets and the promotion of gambling and betting on TV screens can be traced back to The Gambling Act 2005 which liberalised the industry and removed many of the checks and controls that had previously been in place.
Cllr Govindia added: “It was this legislation that that made it much harder for local authorities to oppose new betting shops and FOBTs and which also allowed gambling companies to begin advertising so widely on TV screens.”
People can find out more about the Government’s consultation on the DCMS website. The consultation closes at midday on January 23, 2018.