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Press Release: MPs display cross-party unity at Rally and call for £2 stake on harmful machines

Cross-Party support for £2 stake on Fixed Odds Betting Terminals

The Fixed Odds Betting Terminals All Party Group held a cross-party ‘Rally for £2’ on Wednesday 22nd November.

The strength of the campaign’s coalition was evident as the rally heard from leading figures in the campaign including the group’s Chair Carolyn Harris MP, Former Work and Pension Secretary and Conservative Leader, Rt Hon Iain Duncan Smith MP, SNP MP Ronnie Cowan MP and Former Liberal Democrat Minister Lord Foster of Bath. The rally also heard from, Sir Robin Wales, the Labour Mayor of the London Borough of Newham who put forward a Sustainable Communities Act petition alongside 93 other councils, calling for a £2 stake on these machines, and media personality Alexis Conran.

At the end of last month, the government published its proposals to the Review on stakes and prizes. The government is seeking to reduce the stake on FOBTs from £100 to between £50 and £2, and has launched a 12 week public consultation on the stake options.  The Group, along with many other associations and authorities, is campaigning for the high £100 stake on FOBTs to be cut to £2. A significant cut in the stake will go a long way in protecting the vulnerable and tackling the harm that is being caused by the machines that are seen on our high streets.

The packed audience included former FOBT addicts, campaign organisations – Campaign for Fairer Gambling and wider stakeholders – Royal Society of Public Health and the Local Government Association.

Carolyn Harris MP said:

“I am delighted with the amount of cross party support the campaign has gained and the APPG has been extremely successful in raising awareness of the significant harm caused by FOBTs amongst Parliamentarians. But the hard work is not over and we must keep up the pressure on the Government during the consultation period in the hope they propose a favourable change for a £2 stake.”

Ronnie Cowan MP said;

“The Campaign for Fairer Gambling estimate that in Inverclyde cash inserted into FOBTs in 2016 was £11,527,602.  This led to loses of just under £3m for that year alone.

“Through the work of the All-party parliamentary group we’ve taken evidence from a number of organisations and individuals who’ve been affected by gambling related harm and in-particular FOBTs.   The call for a £2 maximum stake on FOBTs is echoed by Members from all mainstream parties.

“Gambling related harm is an issue which is rightly receiving more attention and it’s vital the Government listen to the many people who are highlighting how FOBTs are having a detrimental effect on society.

“I urge people to respond to the Government’s consultation on ‘Gaming Machines and Social Responsibility Measures’ and ensure they know that the maximum unit stake on FOBTs must be reduced to £2.  This will be a step in the right direction and help ensure less individuals and their families lives are ruined by these machines.

Lord Don Foster said:

“Since 2009, when I first argued for it ,I have campaigned for a £2 maximum stake for FOBTs. The arguments for it are overwhelming not least to reduce the human misery that these machines cause. But more is needed; a reduction in spin rates and number of machines in each betting office and an increase in staffing (to improve supervision) and of powers to local councils to tackle betting shop clustering on our High Streets. I hope they will all be included in the government’s response to the current consultation.”

Mayor Sir Robin Wales said:

“Residents tell us that their high streets are dominated by betting shops. We know that these outlets cluster in deprived areas and are linked to crime and anti-social behaviour. We have had support from industry, charities, faith groups and parliamentarians. However, the Government has continued to drag its feet on this issue.

“Our residents cannot afford any further delay. Last year, in Newham alone, it is estimated that nearly £20 million was lost on FOBTs. Only a stake reduction of £2 will provide protections for our residents and promote responsible gambling. Anything over this will just continue to perpetuate the problem.

“Ultimately, the only socially responsible measure on FOBT stakes is to reduce them. If the Government sets the maximum stake level is set at anything over £2, it will show that the Treasury is putting exchequer profits before people”.

Further information on the All Party Group can be found at www.fobt-appg.com

Notes to Editors

  1. 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.
  1. For more information, please contact Carolyn Harris MP, the Chair of the Fixed Odds Betting Terminals All Party Parliamentary Group or the secretariat for the Group: Tosin Adedayo adedayo T: 020 7592 3825

Press Release: FOBT APPG Publishes Inquiry Report

MPs Launch Parliamentary Report into Fixed Odds Betting Terminals

Report finds there is a ’prima facie’ case for significant stake reduction on FOBTs

The Fixed Odds Betting Terminal APPG will today launch the findings of their six month Inquiry “Fixed Odds Betting Assessing the Impact” which has taken in-depth evidence into the impact of FOBT machines in communities across the UK.

The Inquiry was launched following growing disquiet among politicians about the harm being caused on Britain’s High Streets by the high stake machines, which can be played with little supervision in any betting shop.

Concern has grown that the machines are both highly addictive and an anomaly in the regulatory framework, and offer high stakes casino style gambling with punters at risk of losing £100 every 20 seconds.

The findings of the report include

  • That there is now a ‘prima facie’ case for significantly reducing the maximum stake that can be wagered on a FOBT
  • At the very least the stake should be reduced on a precautionary basis, in line with the principles which govern the work of the Gambling Commission, until sufficient evidence is presented to the Government that the high stakes on these machines do not cause harm
  • That the Gambling Commission “have failed” to adequately advise the Government in recent years, despite the principles for regulation and licencing under which the Gambling Commission operates
  • That there is a case for the maximum stake to be reduced to £2
  • Government should also consider reducing the speed of spin on a FOBT in order to reduce the potential for harm to be caused and also review the number of FOBTs permitted in an individual bookmaker
  • Government should address localism concerns and calls for greater controls over FOBTs at the local level. Powers should be given to local authorities to prevent the clustering of betting shops.

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.

The bookies refused to take part in the Inquiry, which Ms Crouch said she was ‘surprised’ to hear.

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 industry awaits publication of the Review of Stakes and Prizes.

The FOBT APPG comment on this in the Report, stating;

“We were disappointed that the bookmakers declined to participate and fear this is a reflection of their denial of the problems associated with FOBTs and a reluctance on their part to speak to policy makers about appropriate regulation.”

Commenting on the launch of the report, Carolyn Harris MP said:

“There is now a clear case for the Government to substantially reduce the maximum stake which can be played on FOBTs. The time for prevaricating is over. These machines are easily accessed in the most deprived areas, sucking money out of the pockets of families. I support a responsible gambling industry, but there is nothing responsible about how FOBTs are currently being operated. I urge the Government to take action now.”

Commenting on the findings of the report, Sir Robin Wales, Mayor of Newham Council said:

“I welcome this report and am delighted that MPs from across the country and political spectrum have shown their support for a maximum £2 stake on Fixed Odds Betting Terminals.

“Newham Council has long campaigned for this and I was delighted to be able to present evidence to the All Party Parliamentary Group on the impact on the communities across the country of such machines. The Government must recognise this comprehensive report and finally bring FOBT stakes in line with other high street gambling machines. The gambling industry has consistently ignored our pleas to stop blighting our high streets with the clustering of betting shops, which bring anti-social behaviour and crime to the heart of our communities.

“Newham fully supports the APPG findings and urges the Government to put people and communities before profit. If the Government is to prove it is on the side of both consumers and communities, it must act quickly to reduce the maximum stake to £2 and remove high stake, hard gambling from the high street.”

The report will be launched in the Jubilee Room in the House of Commons at 9.30am on Tuesday 31st January.

 

TO DOWNLOAD FULL FOBT APPG REPORT, CLICK HERE

 

Notes

  1. 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, will allow 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.
  1. For more information, please contact Carolyn Harris MP, the Chair of the Fixed Odds Betting Terminals All Party Parliamentary Group or the secretariat for the Group: Kenneth Pritchard (E: kenneth.pritchard@interelgroup.com T: 0207 592 3800)

For further information please contact the FOBT APPG Secretariat

Further information about the FOBT APPG can be found at www.fobt-appg.com

Press Release: FOBT APPG Interim Report

The Fixed Odds Betting Terminals All Party Parliamentary Group is today publishing its interim findings from its inquiry into FOBTs. These are the interim findings of the Group which have been submitted to the Department for Culture Media and Sport as part of its Call for Evidence into gaming machines. A full report setting out more detailed recommendations for the Government will be published by the group in January.

The interim findings are:

  • Collectively we find that, from the extensive evidence presented to us, the Government now has a prima facie case for significantly reducing the £100 stake that can be wagered on a Fixed Odds Betting Terminal. The Group sees a strong case for the stake being set at £2. This call is supported many members of Parliament from all political parties and in both houses of Parliament, it is also, the evidence suggests, supported by a significant majority of the public.
  • At the very least the stake should be reduced on a FOBT on a precautionary basis and the precautionary principle should be applied until sufficient evidence is presented to the Government that the high stakes on these machines do not cause harm.
  • In addition to reviewing the stake level, the Government should also consider reducing the speed of spin on a FOBT in order to reduce the potential for harm to be caused and also review the number of FOBTs permitted in an individual bookmaker.
  • The Government should address localism concerns and calls for greater controls over FOBTs at the local level. Powers should be given to prevent the clustering of betting shops.
  • The Group has heard many reports of the increased levels of crime resulting from the presence of FOBTs in bookmakers. While this suggests the staking level and number of FOBTs should be addressed by the Government, we also urge them to review the levels of staffing in bookmakers to ensure appropriate protection and supervision of players and the safety of bookmaker staff.
  • In considering the impact of FOBTs, it is critical that the Government considers not just the impact on ‘problem gambling’ but wider gambling related harm caused by FOBT machines and the cumulative impact on families and communities that these machines can have.
  • The Government has a duty to protect the most vulnerable in our society and to act in the public interest. We strongly urge them to do so and do so with immediate effect.

Carolyn Harris, Chair of the FOBT APPG said:

“In this interim report we note that, from the evidence presented to us, the Government now has clear case for significantly reducing the £100 stake that can be wagered on a Fixed Odds Betting Terminal.

The Group sees a strong case for the stake being set at £2. This call is supported many members of Parliament from all political parties and in both houses of Parliament, it is also supported by a significant majority of the public.

At the very least, the stake should be reduced on a FOBT on a precautionary basis. The precautionary principle should be applied until sufficient evidence is presented to the Government that the high stakes on these machines do not cause harm rather than the onus being to prove that they do cause harm.

The Government has a duty to protect the most vulnerable in our society and to act in the public interest. We therefore strongly urge them to properly regulate FOBTs and to do so with immediate effect.”

Please click here to download report

Notes to Editors

  1. 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, will allow 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.
  1. For more information, please contact Carolyn Harris MP, the Chair of the Fixed Odds Betting Terminals All Party Parliamentary Group or the secretariat for the Group: Katherine.morgan@interelgroup.com 07973 884797
  1. The Group’s final report will be made publicly available in early 2017.

Press Release: FOBT APPG Chair welcomes Government Review of Gaming Machines

Carolyn Harris MP, Chair of the Fixed Odds Betting Terminals All Party Parliamentary Group

Government Review on Gaming Machines and Social Responsibility Measures

Press Release

Carolyn Harris MP, Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs), today welcomes the Government’s Review of Gaming Machines and Social Responsibility Measures, which includes a review of FOBTs.

Ms Harris and others in the All Party Group have been calling for this review for some time.

The Group is currently undertaking a wide-ranging inquiry into FOBTs and will be feeding in evidence from its inquiry into this review.

The APPG will be hearing evidence from the Gambling Minister Tracey Crouch MP and Sarah Harrison the CEO of the Gambling Commission in November.

Carolyn Harris MP said:

“I very much welcome the Government’s announcement of the, long awaited, review into gaming machines, including Fixed Odds Betting Terminals. The FOBT All Party Parliamentary Group has been calling for this review for some time. I hope the Government will take this opportunity to address the £100 stake on FOBTs and the regulation of them.

Evidence given to the FOBT All Party Group inquiry has demonstrated the impact these machines are having on all our communities and proven that there is strong case for stake reduction.

I look forward to working with the Government on this important review in the coming weeks”

Notes to Editors

  1. 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, will allow 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.
  1. For more information, please contact Carolyn Harris MP, the Chair of the Fixed Odds Betting Terminals All Party Parliamentary Group or the secretariat for the Group: Kenneth Pritchard pritchard@interelgroup.com T: 0207 592 3800
  1. The group’s report will be made publicly available in early 2017.
  1. Oral evidence sessions will be held each month and the attendees will be listed on the group website fobt-appg.com .These sessions will be by invitation only. Please contact kenneth.pritchard@interelgroup.com if you would like to attend.
  1. Written Submissions are being accepted. Please contact the Group Secretariat, Kenneth Pritchard pritchard@interelgroup.com for more information.

Press Release: Fixed Odds Betting Terminals APPG hears from Local Government

Fixed Odds Betting Terminals All Party Parliamentary Group

 Press Release

Fixed Odds Betting Terminals APPG hears from Local Government

In the latest session of the Fixed Odds Betting Terminals All Party Parliamentary Group inquiry into “Fixed Odds Betting Terminals – Assessing the Impact”, the APPG will be hearing from Sir Robin Wales, Mayor of Newham Council and the Local Government Association, later today.

Newham Council have led a Sustainable Communities Act appeal, with support from 92 other councils in England and Wales, calling for the Government to reduce the stake on FOBTs in high street bookmakers to £2.

Alongside Sir Robin, Anita Lower, Licencing Spokesperson for the Local Government Authority will give evidence of how the LGA and local authorities across the country have experienced the impact of FOBTs.

In a series of hearings, the APPG inquiry will be taking oral evidence from the range of stakeholders in the FOBT debate from gambling addiction experts and FOBT users, to regulators, bookmaker Chief Executives and their representatives.

Using this evidence the group will publish a report setting out their findings early in 2017.

Further information on the All Party Group and details of further sessions due to be held later this year can be found at www.fobt-appg.com

Carolyn Harris MP the Chair of the All Party Group said:

“I am delighted to Chair this important inquiry. The FOBT All Party Group, a genuinely cross party group, will seek to fully assess the impact of FOBTs on our society and economy. It is time for a proper look to be taken at the impact of these machines on all our communities”

 

Notes to Editors

  1. 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, will allow 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.
  1. For more information, please contact Carolyn Harris MP, the Chair of the Fixed Odds Betting Terminals All Party Parliamentary Group or the secretariat for the Group: Kenneth Pritchard pritchard@interelgroup.com T: 0207 592 3800
  1. The group’s report will be made publicly available in early 2017.
  1. Oral evidence sessions will be held each month and the attendees will be listed on the group website fobt-appg.com .These sessions will be by invitation only. Please contact kenneth.pritchard@interelgroup.com if you would like to attend.
  1. Written Submissions are being accepted. Please contact the Group Secretariat, Kenneth Pritchard pritchard@interelgroup.com for more information.

Press Release: Group holds first session of its inquiry into FOBTs hearing from gamblers and the Campaign for Fairer Gambling

APPG

“Fixed Odds Betting Terminals – Assessing the Impact”

Fixed Odds Betting Terminals – All Party Group – Press Release

Group holds first session of its inquiry into FOBTs hearing from gamblers and the Campaign for Fairer Gambling

The newly formed Fixed Odds Betting Terminals All Party Parliamentary Group has held the first session of its inquiry in Parliament on Wednesday 6 July.

In the group’s first evidence session, Parliamentarians heard from gamblers who have experienced at first hand, the problems which can be caused by Fixed Odds Betting Terminals. They also heard from the Campaign for Fairer Gambling who has been campaigning to get the maximum stake that can be wagered from £100 to £2.

The Groups inquiry called “Fixed Odds Betting Terminals – Assessing the Impact” is running from now until the end of the year.

In a series of hearings, the inquiry will be taking oral evidence from the range of stakeholders in the FOBT debate from gambling addiction experts and FOBT users, to regulators, bookmaker Chief Executives and their representatives.

The inquiry would also welcome written submissions from interested parties by 31 July 2016.

Using this evidence the group will publish a report setting out their findings early in 2017.

Further information on the All Party Group can be found at www.fobt-appg.com

Carolyn Harris, the MP for Swansea East and the Chair of the All Party Group said:

“We are looking forward to the first session of our inquiry into Fixed Odds Betting Terminals. It is very important to hear from FOBT users, who have experienced at first hand the many difficulties and problems which FOBTs can cause. We are hoping we can learn from their experiences and are very grateful to the individuals for coming to meet with us.”

 

Notes to Editors

  1. 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, will allow 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.
  1. For more information, please contact Carolyn Harris MP, the Chair of the Fixed Odds Betting Terminals All Party Parliamentary Group or the secretariat for the Group: Kenneth Pritchard kenneth.pritchard@interelgroup.com T: 0207 592 3800
  1. The group’s report will be made publicly available in early 2017.
  1. Oral evidence sessions will be held each month and the attendees will be listed on the group website www.fobt-appg.com .These sessions will be by invitation only. Please contact kenneth.pritchard@interelgroup.com if you would like to attend.
  1. Written Submissions should be sent by 31 July 2016 to Kenneth Pritchard kenneth.pritchard@interelgroup.com