Emma called on the Government to bring in tougher regulation for Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs) at Culture Questions today, highlighting the large amounts lost on the controversial machines in South Shields
Emma asked the Culture Minister Helen Grant MP:
“In South Shields, more than £2.8 million has been lost on high stakes fixed odds betting terminals. Those machines allow players to gamble as much as £100 every 20 seconds and have already been banned by a number of countries. Will the Minister take action to tackle the damage that the machines do and back Labour’s call to limit the maximum stake on these machines to £2?“
The Minister insisted that FOBTs were being kept under review, but did not back further regulation. You can read Emma’s question and the Minister’s reply by clicking here.
Last week Tory and Liberal Democrat MPs approved a recent review which will allow betting shops to keep the maximum stake for FOBTs at £100. Labour MPs opposed the decision.
Britain is the only country in the developed world which allows players to gamble £100 per play on FOBTs. Several countries including Ireland have banned them outright.
Speaking after Culture Questions, Emma said:
“The Government has already missed one opportunity to take action against these machines, and unless Labour MPs keep up the pressure then they will continue to turn a blind eye.
“FOBTs contribute to problem gambling and ruin lives, especially in poorer areas. The Government needs to listen to campaigners and Labour MPs and bring in tough regulation now.”
More than half of betting shop profits come from FOBTs, and so the machines are heavily pushed by companies, despite the evidence that they are linked to gambling addiction and crime. Earlier this week Betfred told its staff that in future their pay would be linked to FOBT profits.