Rt Hon David Evennett, MP for Bexleyheath and Crayford, has urged the Government to take action on Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs), by reducing the maximum stake from the current £100 to £2.
Currently, there are around 33,000 FOBTs in betting shops across the country, and the current maximum stake of £100 is 50 times higher than what is widely available on most other gaming machines.
Gambling Commission figures have shown that in 2015-16 there were more than 230,000 individual sessions in which someone lost £1,000 or more. Data from the Gambling Commission also suggests that there are 430,000 problem gamblers in across the UK, with almost 2million more people being considered ‘at risk’ based on their gambling behaviour.
In March 2018, the Gambling Commission published advice to the Government, in which it recommended that FOBT slots stakes should be limited to £2, and that the stake limit for FOBT non-slot games (which includes roulette) should be set at or below £30 if it is to have a significant effect on the potential for players to lose large amounts of money in a short space of time.
Mr Evennett recently tabled a Parliamentary question to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, to ask when a decision will be made on a possible reduction of the maximum stake for FOBTs. He has also made representations to the Secretary of State, Rt Hon Matthew Hancock MP, to express his concerns at the current situation as well as his strong support for a significant reduction in the maximum stake.