Councils respond to launch of Government review into gaming machines

LGA press release 24 October 2016

Responding to the launch of a government review into gaming machines, Cllr Simon Blackburn, Chair of the Local Government Association's Safer and Stronger Communities Board, said:

"Councils have long-called for a reduction in Fixed Odds Betting Terminal (FOBT) stakes so the announcement by the Government today is a significant step in the right direction.

"Councils up and down the country are worried about the number of high stakes FOBTs and betting shops on our high streets. Someone playing on a machine can lose £100 in a matter of seconds in a single play on an FOBT. This is money many people can't afford to lose. The machines have also been linked to acts of aggression and violence within betting shops.

"Bringing stakes in line with other gaming machines in betting shops and elsewhere on high streets and casinos, would help to protect those at risk from problem gambling.

"Councils are not anti-bookies but many are frustrated by the limited powers available to them to act on community concerns and limit the number of shops opening up in their area. We are pleased that the review will consider the impact of machines on communities as well as individuals, and urge Government to use it to strengthen powers for councils to address the saturation of betting shops across their communities.

"As part of this, licensing laws need to be updated to allow councils to take health issues associated with problem gambling and anti-social behaviour concerns into account when considering applications. A new cumulative impact test would also give them the power to veto new shops – and FOBTs - in areas already saturated by betting shops."

24 October 2016

Contact

Greg Burns
020 7664 3184
greg.burns@local.gov.uk