Notizie

LGA reiterates calls for lower FOBT stakes in UK

The UK’s Local Government Association (LGA) has again urged the government to cut the maximum stake on fixed-odds betting machines (FOBTs) in the region.


Punters in the UK can currently wager up to £100 (€129/$145) on FOBTs, but the government has faced calls from various groups to lower this to a maximum of £2.


The LGA has upheld this demand, stating that stakes should be cut to £2 on FOBT machines in high street shops and £5 in casinos, while also calling for cumulative impact tests to be introduced to enable UK councils to reject applications for new betting shops in areas where there are already a cluster of shops.


In addition, the LGA said that current licensing laws should be updated to allow councils to take health issues associated with problem gambling and anti-social behaviour concerns into account when considering shop applications.


The organisation also noted that a triennial review of gaming machine stakes in the UK is now due, with the last assessment having been staged in January 2013.


Cllr Simon Blackburn, chair of the LGA’s ‘Safer and Stronger Communities Board’, said: “Councils up and down the country are worried about the number of high stakes FOBTs and betting shops on our high streets, and are frustrated by the lack of powers they have to curb them.


“The higher stakes permitted on FOBTs is significantly out of line with other high street gambling machines and the harm and anti-social behaviour they can cause has become an issue of growing national concern.


“A triennial review of machine stakes is overdue, and with two-thirds of MPs calling for tougher regulation of FOBTs, we urge the government to honour its previous commitment and launch a review of stakes at the earliest opportunity.


“Bringing stakes in line with other gaming machines in betting shops and elsewhere on high streets and casinos, would help to protect those at risk from problem gambling, and would be an important a step in the right direction.


“Councils are not anti-bookies but a new cumulative impact test would give them the power to veto new shops – and FOBTs - in areas already saturated by betting shops.”

 

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