The campaign to see the reduction of Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs) to a £2 maximum unit stake has been a long fought one and I’m pleased to see the implementation of these changes as a measure to address gambling related harm. According to the Gambling Commissions own figures, the gross gambling yield (GGY) on these machines is £1.7 billion and the total losses that individuals have suffered have been millions of pounds.
Since I was elected to parliament, back in 2015, I have strongly campaigned for more action to address gambling related harm and the impact it has on individuals and their loved ones. The change to FOBTs has been a cross party led campaign and through the All-party parliamentary group, alongside Carolyn Harris MP and Iain Duncan Smith MP, we’ve managed to get the government to listen and ultimately act.
The wider issue of gambling related harm is rightly received more attention as we learn the true extent of problem gambling in the UK. Some of the emerging challenges I believe, and which requires further action, is the link between young people and gambling, particularly on loot boxes and skin games. Added to this, the online gambling market and gambling advertising are areas which also need addressed.
I hope the FOBT decision has served as a wake-up call to the UK Government that further action is required on gambling related harm and I will continue to campaign on this subject, working with both the industry and charities, such as Gambling with Lives, to ensure more is done to protect vulnerable people who are exposed to gambling.