LGA urges UK government to reduce FOBTs wagering to £2

Simon Blackburn

UK cross-party council organisation, the Local Government Association (LGA) has urged the government to reduce the maximum wager on fixed odds betting terminals (FOBTs) from £100 to £2.

The LGA has called for MP’s to support an immediate government review on UK FOBTs policy. The organisation states that it wants to reduce potential risks and harms to vulnerable gambling consumers.

The council organisation seeks to further add cumulative impact tests which will allow for councils to reject bookmaker applications in UK areas deemed to have high betting shop density.

Further provisions put forward by the LGA, include seeking for councils to be forced to consider anti-social, community health and crime factors when reviewing new bookmaker licensing.

The LGA is set to further target UK casinos, urging the government to reduce machine wagering limits to £5 stakes.

In April 2015, the government introduced new regulations to UK bookmaker operations requiring staff to supervise customers wagering over £50 on B2 Machines.

LGA research states that there are more than 34,500 FOBTs in the UK where players can stake £100 for a single spin of a roulette wheel lasting 20 seconds.

Simon Blackburn, Chair of the LGA’s Safer and Stronger Communities Board, said: “Councils up and down the country are worried about the number of high stakes FOBTs and betting shops on our high streets, and are frustrated by the lack of powers they have to curb them.

“The higher stakes permitted on FOBTs is significantly out of line with other high street gambling machines and the harm and anti-social behaviour they can cause has become an issue of growing national concern.

“Councils are not anti-bookies but a new cumulative impact test would give them the power to veto new shops – and FOBTs – in areas already saturated by betting shops.”

Reacting to the LGA’s stance, The Association of British Bookmakers (ABB) hit back stating that UK bookmakers were the “safest place to gamble”.

“The Government made a decision last July to leave stakes and prizes on gaming machines as they are, noting that local authorities already have sufficient powers, via the licensing process, to manage the presence of betting shops on the high street.”

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