Christian leaders and MPs call for action over betting machinesGambling
MPs from the main political parties have called on the government to take action to reduce the harmful influences of betting machines (FOBTs).
In a joint letter to The Times, key figures from across the religious, academic and political world said the government should back a bill in the name of Lord Clement-Jones which will receive a Second Reading in the House of Lords today. His bill would reduce the maximum stake on highly addictive FOBTs from £100 to just £2.
CARE’s Chief Executive Nola Leach was among the signatories and so too was the Bishop of Stafford, the Right Rev. Geoff Annas and Professor Jim Orford of Gambling Watch UK.
Lib Dem leader Tim Farron MP, Conservative MP David Amess and Labour London Mayoral candidate Sadiq Khan were also among those who signed the letter.
The group warned in the letter that two recent suicides linked to FOBTs might have been avoided had action been taken.
FOBTs are a toxic combination of high speed play and a high maximum stake of £100, meaning in one hour you could potentially lose up to £18,000.
CARE along with other organisations believe the maximum stake must be massively reduced if the social destruction caused by these machines is to be mitigated.
This week the former non-executive director of Paddy Power, one of the UK's largest bookmakers, said he supported calls for a reduction in the maximum stake, saying that alongside the machines blasting out a warning message, curbing the maximum stake would deal with the "curse" of FOBTs.
Read the full letter in The Times here (£).