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Carolyn Harris reacts to the news that the £2 maximum stake will only come into force in October 2019.

Following the Chancellor’s Budget speech, which announced that the implementation date for the maximum £2 FOBT stake will come into force in October 2019 and not April 2019, Carolyn Harris’, Chair of the APPG on the Fixed Odds Betting Terminals said:

“I am appalled by today’s announcement. To delay cutting the stake on FOBTs to October 2019 is wholly unjustifiable. This will lead to many more vulnerable people’s lives being harmed while the bookmakers will continue to make millions from FOBT machines. At the same time Remote Gaming Duty is being set at 21% which is at the lower end of the expected range. The bookmakers must be delighted and we can clearly see where the priorities of this Government lie.”

FOBT APPG PUBLISHES REPORT ON DELAYED IMPLEMENTATION OF £2 FOBT STAKE

Thursday 25th October 2018

FOBT APPG PUBLISHES REPORT ON DELAYED IMPLEMENTATION OF £2 FOBT STAKE

Report finds bookmakers are the only beneficiary of delayed implementation of £2 stake

MPs call on Government to act in the public interest and implement £2 stake immediately

The Fixed Odds Betting Terminal APPG has today ( 25 October) published the findings of its short inquiry looking at the urgent need to implement the £2 stake.

The inquiry was launched, following the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport’s announcement in May that the stake on Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs) will be reduced to £2, a decision that the APPG very much welcomed. However, the group was deeply concerned to hear that implementation of this reduced stake may be delayed until 2020.
The report found that:

  • The technical changes to the B2 machines can be done as quickly as three months and if an implementation date, earlier than April 2019 was set, bookmakers and the games manufacturers would be able to make the required changes in time.
  • Bookmakers and games manufacturers are the only beneficiary of a delayed stake reduction to the tune of over £1bn, whilst the Treasury and wider society would see net losses, particularly in the most deprived communities.
  • Contrary to arguments put forward by the bookmakers, stake reduction could in fact lead to job creation. A recent report by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr) found that £100 million in GVA contributions to GDP could be lost in net terms for each year of delay in implementation, and could therefore lead to a delay in the realisation of a potential net boost in employment of about 2,800 jobs in far more profitable areas of employment.

The report notes that the most important reason for immediate stake reduction is a moral one, it describes it as an issue of social justice which must be resolved. It concludes that it is morally reprehensible that the Government is propping up its finances through taking revenue from FOBTs which in turn take money often from those who can least afford it.
Furthermore, with the Government proposing to increase Remote Gaming Duty from April 2019, it is not morally justifiable to continue to gain revenue from FOBTs for a further year when an alternative revenue stream will have been put in place.

The FOBT APPG, chaired by Carolyn Harris MP, heard from a range of key witnesses including the Minster for Gambling, Tracey Crouch MP, the Executive Director of the Gambling Commission, the Church of England, Games

Manufacturers and most powerfully of all from the families of those who had taken their own lives due to gambling and FOBT addictions.

Carolyn Harris , Chair of FOBT APPG said:

“During this enquiry, we heard first-hand about the tragedies caused by these machines.

“From the evidence we heard, it is clear to us that the bookmakers are being misleading and disingenuous to claim such a long time is required to make the technical changes to FOBT machines. Clearly the profit they make from FOBTs provides an incentive to delay the reduction as long as possible.

“The harm being caused by FOBTs cannot go on. It is now time for the Government to do the right thing.

“It is time for it to stop bending to the will of a large corporate interest, namely the bookmakers, and implement a £2 stake on Fixed Odds Betting Terminals now.”
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.
2. 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 tosin.adedayo@interelgroup.com T: 020 7592 3825
3. The full list of APPG members are:

  • Carolyn Harris MP (Chair)
  • Iain Duncan Smith MP (Vice – Chair)
  • Lord Chadlington (Vice – Chair)
  • Ronnie Cowan MP (Vice – Chair)
  • Stuart McDonald MP
  • Stephen Timms MP
  • Neil Parish MP
  • Sir Peter Bottomley MP
  • Liz McInnes MP
  • Graham Jones MP
  • Ruth Cadbury MP
  • Hannah Bardell MP
  • Jeremy Beecham MP
  • Ian Blackford MP
  • Kirsty Blackman MP
  • Fiona Bruce MP
  • Sir Vince Cable MP
  • Lisa Cameron MP
  • Lord Clement Jones
  • David Crausby MP
  • Wayne David MP
  • Judith Cummins MP
  • Lord Dholakia MP
  • Lord Foster of Bath
  • Louise Haigh MP
  • David Lammy MP
  • Jeremy Lefroy MP
  • David Linden MP
  • Jonathan Lord MP
  • Liz McInnes MP
  • Jim McMahon MP
  • Jim Shannon MP
  • Alan Smith MP
  • Jeff Smith MP
  • Alison Thewliss MP
  • Charles Walker MP
  • Sammy Wilson MP

Please click here to download a copy of the FOBT APPG Inquiry Report

APPG announces new inquiry session

The FOBT APPG will be holding an inquiry session on Tuesday 17th July from 9am-11am, as part of the current Inquiry into the Government’s Implementation of a £2 stake on Fixed Odds Betting Terminals.

In the first part of the session, the APPG will be hearing about the impact of a delayed implementation of the £2 stake on local communities and also from those whose lives and families have been harmed by FOBTs. Witnesses will be:

Impact on Communities

  • Councillor Anita Lower, Local Government Association
  • Mayor Rokhsana Fiaz, Newham Borough Council

Impact on people and families

  • Josephine Holloway
  • Liz Ritchie
  • Terry White

APPG publishes most recent Income and Expenditure Statement

Following the All Party Parliamentary Group’s Annual General Meeting the APPG has now published its Income and Expenditure Statement.

The full statement is available here.

FOBT APPG Annual General Meeting Press Release

FOBT APPG launches new inquiry to urge Government to immediately implement £2 stake.

Today (19 June) marks 603 days since the Government launched its call for evidence on the maximum stake on Fixed Odds Betting Terminals. 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 APPG held its AGM in Portcullis House today, where Carolyn Harris MP was re-elected as Chair of the Group and Rt Hon Iain Duncan Smith MP, Ronnie Cowan MP and Lord Chadlington were also elected as Vice-Chairs of the Group.

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.

Carolyn Harris MP said:

“I am delighted to have been re-elected Chair of the FOBT APPG. This is an issue that is close to my heart and one I am extremely passionate about to see through until the £2 stake is implemented.  Along with my colleagues on the group, I was dismayed to hear the Treasury are looking to delay the stake reduction by 2 years. This is unacceptable. By then the industry would have made £4 billion off the back of the most vulnerable in our society. The APPG will continue campaigning ferociously to see that we protect those who most need our help as parliamentarians.”

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 tosin.adedayo@interelgroup.com T: 020 7592 3825
  1. 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

APPG Statement as FOBT losses pass £3billion

Today marks £3billion having now been lost on FOBTs since DCMS launched its consultation on Fixed Odds Betting Terminals over 600 days ago.

We call on the Government to immediately make good on its promise from the 17th May and make a £2 stake a reality.

£2 is the only stake level to be supported by the Church of England, 93 local councils and the Royal Society for Public Health as well as the three largest political parties in Westminster, the Conservatives, Labour and the Scottish National Party.

Any further delay in the implementation of a £2 stake is a clear abandonment of those people who are most affected by these machines, the same people who Theresa May’s Government have promised to protect under her premiership, be they problem gamblers or their local communities who are just about managing to survive the financial drain of FOBTs.