Victory as FOBT Stake is SlashedGambling
Government has a clear mandate now to press for further changes in law to help problem gamblers
The dramatic cut of stakes on fixed odds betting terminals (FOBTs) – from £100 to just £2 – is a stunning victory for campaigners and charities who have faced an uphill battle to see this happen.
The machines, dubbed the ‘crack cocaine of gambling’ are highly addictive; gamblers can bet £100 every 20 seconds on the machines. FOBTs contributed to 96 per cent of all losses over £1,000 in betting shops and have been linked closely to crippling debt, crime, mental health issues, marriage and family breakdown, and in extreme cases – suicide.
CARE’s Director of Parliamentary Affairs, Dr Dan Boucher speaks out
“CARE has long campaigned for a reduction from £100 to £2 per spin after witnessing the negative impact these machines have had on people’s lives across the UK.”
“There has been real frustration felt in communities across Britain as well as from councils who have been almost powerless in curtailing the damage that FOBTs have wrought.”
“FOBTs are predominantly found clustered in economically deprived areas and it has been a huge concern that their presence there deliberately targets vulnerable people.”
“The Government was right to sign off on a £2 stake and we are delighted they have chosen to listen to the vast majority who called for this change. This reduction will go a long way towards minimising the harm these machines cause and we hope Regulations will quickly be approved by Parliament.”
There has been continuous support from the public, the media and from MPs and Peers across all political parties to significantly reduce the £100 stake that can be wagered on FOBTs down to £2.
CARE has been involved in this area for a number of years and was involved in developing the first Bill reducing the FOBT stake to £2 in 2014, which helped put the issue on the parliamentary agenda.
A recent study asserted that FOBTs cost frontline services over £210m a year, including £116m in hospital inpatient visits, £32m in secondary mental health services and £16m through criminal behaviour.
Let this be the first in a series of steps to help problem gamblers
Problem gambling is a huge concern in Britain today, with research showing that 14.5 million people – almost 10 per cent – of the population know someone personally with a gambling problem.
Research also shows that 63% per cent of people in Britain think that gambling is now a significant issue in Britain today.
66% of men (61% of men and women) are unhappy with the current arrangement in which the Government encourages the gambling industry to make voluntary contributions to help care for problem gamblers. 66% of men agreed in a ComRes poll that the level of industry contributions should be increased and that it should be made compulsory. The total value of such contributions last year was just £8 million – 0.06% of Gross Gambling Yield.
Dr Dan Boucher concludes
“The Government’s intervention on fixed odds betting terminals is a very welcome step but it must continue to press the gambling industry to do more to help problem gamblers.”
“The damaging effects of gambling have become visible across society and the Government has a real opportunity now to introduce better and more robust protections and to care for those whose lives have been negatively impacted by gambling. This poll shows that majority of the public would support such action being taken.”
Notes to the editor:
CARE has spoken out about the damage of Fixed Odds Betting Terminals for many years and CARE’s Director of Parliamentary Affairs gave evidence at the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) and called on the Government to reduce the stakes on the machines from £100 to £2 per spin.
CARE has long spoken out about the harmful effects of FOBTs on individuals and society and advocated for the reduction of stakes for FOBTs, noting the link between problem gambling and proliferation of betting shops with FOBTs: Research shows link between problem gambling and proliferation of betting shops with FOBTs
England's poorest bet £13bn on gambling machines – Amount gambled on high-speed machines in deprived boroughs is double that staked in richest areas, report claims
Wheel of Misfortune: the case for lowering the stakes on FOBTs – ResPublica and Fairer Gambling report, Oct 2017
CARE has previously helped facilitate events in Parliament where recovering problem gamblers have been able to relate to parliamentarians the devastating effects of gambling addictions on their lives and on the lives of their families.
ComRes interviewed 2,036 GB adults online between 19th and 21st January 2018. Data were weighted to be representative of all British adults aged 18+ by age, gender, region and social grade. ComRes is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.
See details of the poll here: http://www.comresglobal.com/polls/care-gambling-research-january-2018/
To see more on our latest work on gambling please click here: https://care.org.uk/news/gambling