Gerald Jones MP has welcomed a new report by the Fixed Odds Betting Terminals All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) of which he is a member, launched in the House of Commons.
Gerald Jones MP has welcomed a new report by the Fixed Odds Betting Terminals All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) of which he is a member, launched this week in the House of Commons.
Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs) allow punters to stake £100 every 20 seconds on electronic versions of casino games such as roulette, but in a low supervision high street bookie environment. Political concern and controversy has been growing about the highly addictive nature of the machines, with one campaign group even calling them the ‘crack cocaine’ of gambling.
The cross party group of MPs and Peers, supported by Mr Jones, has today published the results of six months of investigations and evidence gathering. The report calls for a substantial reduction in the maximum stake which can be wagered on a FOBT and more powers for local councils to control the proliferation of betting shops.
Lending his support to the campaign for a stake reduction, the MP for Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney said:
“I have been increasingly concerned about the impact FOBTs have had on our community and on problem gamblers. The ability to wager high stakes on high speed machines only exacerbates the harm associated with gambling addiction, leading to greater losses.
“There is too much money being lost across Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney on these highly addictive machines. They should be properly regulated, and I support the work of the All Party Group, and the findings of this report in calling for a reduction in the maximum stake that can be played on FOBTs.”
The Inquiry comes at a critical time, as the Government considers the responses to its Call for Evidence on Gaming Machines and Social Responsibility and as the Department for Culture, Media and Sport moves towards publishing the Review of Stakes and Prizes.
The FOBT APPG, chaired by Carolyn Harris MP, took evidence from, among others, academics, problem gamblers, campaign groups, local authorities, industry experts, Gambling Minister Tracey Crouch, Sarah Harrison. Chief Executive of the Gambling Commission, Chris Kelly, Chair of the Responsible Strategy Gambling Board, Kate Lampard, Chair of Gamble Aware.