I’m extremely disappointed to learn the Government may be shelving their review of Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs) as the Treasury are thinking of how much tax they can receive from gaming machines and therefore do not want any stake reduction.
As vice-chair of the All-party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on FOBTs I’ve heard first-hand accounts from individuals whose lives have been affected by gambling related harm and these machines. In my constituency of Inverclyde cash inserted in FOBTs was over £11.5m in 2016, with losses amounting to nearly £3m.
The evidence shows that these machines are directly linked to problem gambling with 4 out of 5 FOBT gamblers exhibiting problem gambling behaviour at stakes in excess of £13 a spin compared to 1 in 5 at stakes £2 and under.
I have written to the Department of Culture, Media and Sport to seek immediate clarification that the Review of Gaming Machines and Social Responsibility Measures will report back in autumn as the Minister previously outlined.