Cllr Simon Blackburn, Chair of the Local Government Association’s Safer and Stronger Communities Board, responds to today’s government announcement that a reduction in maximum stakes on fixed odds betting terminals (FOBTs) will be brought forward to April 2019.
“This announcement is great news, on something that has become an issue of growing national concern. A reduction in maximum stakes is something the LGA has long called for to help tackle the harm these machines can cause, and the Government should introduce this change sooner than it originally set out in the Budget.
“Maximum stakes on fixed odds betting terminals are significantly out of line with other high street gambling machines.
“Bringing the stake down to £2 will help to reduce problem gambling and its devastating impacts on individuals and communities. It will help prevent vulnerable players from losing £100 in seconds in a single play, which many people cannot afford to lose.
“Research has shown that problem gambling, often linked to FOBTs, creates huge costs for the NHS, councils and the criminal justice system.
“It is right that government has listened to these concerns and we urge it to set in stone this revised date for the new £2 limit to rule out the chance of any new delay.”