Today (25 June) marks 609 days since the Government launched its call for evidence on the maximum stake on Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs). Since that time, over £3 billion pounds have been lost on these machines, mostly by those least able to afford it, as shown on the FOBT loss tracker on the Group’s website.
To mark this milestone in the campaign, the FOBT All Party Parliamentary Group recently held its AGM in Portcullis House, where Carolyn Harris MP was re-elected as Chair of the Group and Merthyr Tydifl and Rhymney MP, Gerald Jones, was elected as the Group’s Treasurer.
During the meeting, the MPs welcomed the Government’s decision last month, to reduce the stake on FOBTs from £100 to £2. However, they also raised their concern about the delayed implementation and have called for the implementation of the reduced stake to be no later than 6 April 2018. The Group also announced that they will be holding a short and urgent inquiry looking into the need for implementation of the revised stake as soon as possible.
The Group will hear from key stakeholders and will produce a report which will be submitted to the Government ahead of the Budget in the Autumn.
Gerald Jones MP said:
“It is welcoming that the Government have pledged to reduce the stake to £2 and this must be implemented soon. It is simply outrageous that the Treasury apparently are seeking to delay its introduction by 2 years, which will see the industry gain £4 billion from the most vulnerable in society.
“This is an issue I have been campaigning on since my election in 2015 and is hugely important to my constituents given a staggering £1.7 million was lost to these machines across Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney in just one year between 2015 and 2016.”
Further information on the All Party Group can be found at www.fobt-appg.com
The Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBT) All Party Parliamentary Group has been created to provide a forum for discussion and further investigation into the impact of FOBTs in our communities. This group, powered by the passion of the members in both houses of Parliament on this issue, allows a coordinated effort among politicians of all political parties, to come together to discuss how best to address the issues that FOBTs are causing to our communities.
The newly elected members of the Group are:
- Carolyn Harris MP – Chair
- Sir Peter Bottomley MP – Vice Chair
- Lord Chadlington – Vice Chair
- Ronnie Cowan MP – Vice Chair
- Iain Duncan Smith MP – Vice Chair
- Liz McInnes MP – Vice Chair
- Graham Jones MP – Vice Chair
- Stephen Timms MP – Vice Chair
- Gerald Jones MP – Treasurer
- Stuart McDonald MP – Secretary