View from the House: Fixed odds stakes will be cut in April


- Credit: Archant

I have been campaigning hard on the serious issue of cutting Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs) maximum stake from £100 down to £2 since 2005.

Working cross-party with Labour MPs including Carolyn Harris MP as this is a serious issue which goes beyond party lines.

In 2016 alone nearly £18million was lost on these machines and each machine turns a profit of around £1,000 per week.

The government had planned to delay cutting the stake limit to October 2019, a proposal which was unacceptable. Following cross-party pressure on the government, I am pleased that common sense has prevailed and that the government’s proposed delay over the FOBTs gambling reform will now not take place, and that the original timing of early April 2019 to limit stakes to £2, will now take effect.

FOBTs currently let customers bet up to £100 every 20 seconds, these machines are addictive and cause real harm to families.

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It has been shown that debt is one of the biggest causes of family breakdown. Problem gamblers neglect their close relationships, including with partners and children, and sometimes turn to crime to fund their habit.

The decision in the first place to cut the minimum stake was an attempt to reduce the levels of debt that gambling addicts can get themselves into, particularly on these fast paced, high stakes slot machines.

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There are 61 licensed betting shops in Waltham Forest, each with four slot machines.

This is why a delay to reducing the stakes was not acceptable.

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