Gambling machines

Ladbrokes commits to cutting betting machine stake in Northern Ireland

20th Nov 2018 - Rachael Adams

Ladbrokes has announced it would cut the maximum stake on highly addictive Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs) in Northern Ireland.

The British Government announced recently that the maximum stake on FOBTs would be cut from £100 to just £2.

But because FOBTs operate in a legal grey area in Northern Ireland, in part because the Gambling Act 2005 does not extend to the country, machines there will continue to operate at £100 a spin unless bookies decide themselves to impose the change.

Today, public policy charity CARE in Northern Ireland called on other bookmakers to follow Ladbrokes lead, by implementing the cut to bring the stake on FOBTs into line with the rest of the UK.

Research has shown that FOBTs are clustered in economically deprived areas and there are four times as many problem gamblers in NI as the rest of the United Kingdom.

CARE in Northern Ireland Policy Officer Mark Baillie said:

“This is a very welcome decision by Ladbrokes.

“The devastation caused by FOBTs is well-documented and it is of critical importance that action is taken to ensure the maximum stake is reduced on these machines here.

“The idea that the stake would be cut on FOBTs in Britain while still operating at £100 a spin here in Northern Ireland is unacceptable.

“It is well known that FOBTs operate in a legal grey area in Northern Ireland but that cannot be used as a reason for inaction.

“I would hope other bookmakers will follow Ladbrokes lead and take action themselves to reduce the maximum stake.

“What we really need is full and proper legal clarity on this issue and it is up to all political parties in Northern Ireland to examine ways the change in Britain can be made to apply here too.”

ENDS

Notes to editors:

For more information please contact James Mildred: james.mildred@care.org.uk / 07717516814

Read more on this story here: https://www.racingpost.com/news/ladbrokes-to-apply-change-in-fobt-stakes-in-northern-ireland/354447

Following the announced plan to cut the maximum stake on FOBTs in April 2019, CARE in NI called for action to be taken to ensure the cut applies in Northern Ireland: https://care.org.uk/news/latest-news/govt-u-turn-fobts-leaves-out-ni

Research shows Northern Ireland has more than four times as many problem gamblers as England: https://care.org.uk/news/latest-news/new-report-shows-northern-ireland-has-more-four-times-many-problem-gamblers-england

Research has also shown a link between problem gambling and proliferation of betting shops with FOBTs: https://care.org.uk/news/latest-news/research-shows-link-between-problem-gambling-and-proliferation-betting-shops-fobts

CARE Polling on problem gambling in Britain:

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.

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/

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