Ravi Govindia welcomes new curbs on high stakes fruit machines

Published: Thursday 17th May 18

Council leader Ravi Govindia has welcomed today’s Government announcement (Thursday) that ministers are poised to limit the sums of money that can be gambled on high stakes fruit machines.

Cllr Govindia has long opposed the spread of these so-called ‘one arm bandits’ amid concerns they’re fuelling a rise in gambling addiction across the country.

Fixed odds betting terminals have been dubbed the "crack cocaine" of fruit machines

These fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs), which are now commonplace in betting shops, currently allow people to gamble £100 every 20 seconds. Under the new restrictions announced today by ministers this maximum single stake will now be reduced to just £2.

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.

Cllr Govindia said: “This is very welcome news. I wholeheartedly support this lower and much more sensible limit on what can be gambled in one go. A maximum stake of £2 is absolutely the right approach.

“These new rules will hopefully act as a brake that curtails the further spread of these harmful machines and reduces the damaging impact they can have on vulnerable members of our community.”

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. I am pleased that the Government is now beginning to redress this balance.”

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