93 English councils petition for reduction in FOBT stakes

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Sir Robin Wales – Mayor of Newham

A petition to lower the minimum stakes on fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBT’s) from £100 to £2 has been launched by a group of 93 English councils.The group led by Newham Council (East London), has called on the English government to out an end to ‘casino style gambling’ on high streets.  The petition will raise concerns to government officials that betting operators are targeting the most deprived areas of England

The 93 councils have requested that its petition be attached to the 2007 Sustainable Communities Act (SCA), a policy which aims promote civic sustainability of local communities.  The UK government will be required to respond to the SCA proposal before its planned review of gaming machines and prizes.

The petition will see the group councils back the introduction of a separate planning class for betting shops, who will require a council permissions in order to open new business premises

Sir Robin Wales, the Mayor of Newham, said: “We are fighting hard to ensure that high streets up and down the country are not dominated by betting shops who are solely concerned with making a quick buck on a computer roulette-wheel.

“In Newham we have tried to curb the rise in the number of betting shops, especially those chain stores who try to maximise their profits through fixed odds betting terminals, but our battle with the betting shops has been thwarted by the lack of tough regulations and the toothless court system.

” 92 councils, of all political parties, have signed up to our Sustainable Communities Act, the largest number ever, to urge government to bring an end to casino-style gambling on the high street, and prevent betting shops from clustering and destroying our shopping districts, especially in deprived areas.”

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