Newham’s campaign leads to Government commitment to investigate FOBT harm

25 October 2016 in Community safety and Mayor
Mayor of Newham  Sir Robin Wales today welcomed the Government’s announcement of a review into high stake gambling machines.
He said: “Today’s statement shows the Government is finally listening to local people by committing to look at the harm done to communities by these high stake gaming machines.

“We welcome the statement that gambling legislation must ensure consumers and communities are protected. That is the reason  we have led a campaign, backed by 92 local authorities from across the country and  political spectrum, to reduce the amount that can be bet on FOBTs. These machines, dubbed the crack-cocaine of gambling, allow up £100 to be bet every 20 seconds. We want that reduced to £2.”

Sir Robin welcomed the review as a first step in reining in the bookies  who have ‘clustered’ their shops on high streets in deprived areas to maximise their profits from these machines.

He added: “These fast-paced, electronic machines have sucked the life-blood out of local economies. Reducing the stake will force bookies to think again about the number of betting shops they open on the high street. I urge the Government to take prompt and decisive action and heed the calls of the local authorities supporting Newham’s campaign, who together represent an astonishing 23 million people.

“We now look forward to providing robust evidence about the detrimental impact of high stake gambling machines in Newham and communities across the country in order to resolve this issue once and for all.”