Richard Graham MP has met with Minister Tracey Crouch to support calls for Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs) to face stricter regulations. Richard urged the Minister to consider reducing the maximum stake on a single bet from £100 to £2: “I can see no benefit to anyone from having such high stakes”, said Richard.
In October 2016 the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport announced a review of gambling machines and social responsibility measures including looking at FOBTs. The government has pledged to publish its findings soon in response to campaigners who want to see the maximum stake aspect in particular addressed.
Richard said, “local resident and taxi driver Hussain Vorajee has spoken to me both about his gambling addiction and the wider issue of the severe social impact these FOBTs can have on families. Fixed Odds Betting Terminals allow people to put £100 every 20 seconds into this machine, with the average user losing £1,200 a year. Some customers don’t have much money and the shops are often in poorer areas, adding to the issue.
There are choices involved: no one is forced to gamble, but gambling can become an addiction and we should help those addicted or likely to be addicted. It’s time to be responsible about gambling and that’s why I’ve asked the Minister to have this stake reduced.”
Hussain Vorajee wrote to Richard with his concerns over machines. He said, “I’m pleased that Richard has agreed to take up this cause. Gambling addictions can ruin lives, as I know, and these machines should be better regulated.”
NOTE TO EDITORS
Fixed Odd Betting Terminals are electronic machines, sited in betting shops, which contain a variety of games, including roulette. Each machine accepts bets for amounts up to a pre-set maximum and pays out according to fixed odds on the simulated outcomes of games.
The Gambling Act 2005 regulates gambling in Great Britain. The Act classifies FOBTs as B2 gaming machines. Up to four machines can be sited on betting premises. The maximum stake on a single bet is £100, the maximum prize is £500. There are 34,388 B2 machines in Great Britain (Gambling Commission statistics, May 2017). The gross gambling yield from B2s was £1.8 billion.
A survey by the Gambling Commission found that a third of the 1.45 million people who used the machines were at risk of becoming addicts.
Richard recorded a video on this issue: https://www.facebook.com/richard4gloucester/videos/1059233537546735/
Below photos show Richard at a Responsible Gambling Week reception in Parliament and with Hussain Vorajee.