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Fixed Odds Betting Terminals FOBT

Fiona Bruce MP attended a meeting in Parliament this week of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on FOBTs’. During the meeting Fiona Bruce spoke of those whose lives have been impacted by the machines, particularly families and children saying “we need to see a reduction in the stake from £100 to £2. Nothing but this level of reduction will make the difference to the families and children, often the poorest in society, affected by the gambling loses incurred by those addicted to these machines”.

The event follows the publication of a new survey by YouGov which shows that 75% of MPs support a considerable stake reduction on FOBTs and with 62% calling for a £2 stake. The survey further shows that the 68% of MPs support the claim that the machines are a major source of problem gambling.

Problem gambling affects 430,000 people in the UK annually. As well as this being a tragedy for gamblers themselves and their families, a recent report showed that problem gambling also carries a huge societal cost. It estimates that this cost to the UK is £1.5bn a year when its impact on wider social welfare is taken into account – including areas such as employment, mental health and financial stability. The report published by the Centre for Economic and Business Research (Cebr), found that those on lower incomes or in deprived areas are the main beneficiaries of a reduction to a £2 stake.

Last month, the Group also launched a FOBT Loss Tracker on its website, which shows how much has been lost on the machines since the DCMS review started in October 2016, over £57 is lost every second. The tracker currently shows that over £2.5 billion, has been lost since that period of which over £1 billion will be from at-risk and addicted gamblers.

Continuing her support to the campaign for a stake reduction, Fiona Bruce MP said after the meeting:
“I am very pleased that so many more MPs have now joined our campaign and that the new Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, Matthew Hancock, is clearly really listening to our concerns about the devastating effect FOBTs are having on families, individuals and communities. The APPG tracker just highlights the rate at which those who can least afford it are losing money on these machines. The Government needs to take a decisive action and cut the stakes on FOBTs to £2. At this level the harm to families and individuals is significantly reduced simply because the amount that can be lost over a short period of time is also significantly reduced.”

Supporters of the campaign, which includes the General Synod of the Church of England, 93 local authorities, the Royal Society for Public Health and politicians from all parties, have called on the Government to take action on FOBTs in order to protect the most vulnerable in society.

The Government is seeking to reduce the stake on FOBTs from £100 to between £50 and £2. It launched a 12 week public consultation on the stake options, which closed on 23rdJanuary and is due to make a decision imminently. 

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