Yesterday in Parliament, Lucy backed calls for the Government’s recommendations on gaming machine stakes and prizes to include restrictions on Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs), the roulette machines in betting shops that have been described as “the crack cocaine of gambling“.
FOBTs are high-speed, high-stake casino gaming machines recently banned in Ireland due to concerns about their addictive characteristics. They are available in betting shops on every British high street with spins of £100 every 20 seconds. The addictive roulette machines have led to betting shops clustering on the high street.
There have been multiple reports of FOBTs causing crime, and last year, despite bookmakers instructing staff not to report criminal acts to the police, there were an average of 165 incidents a week in betting shops requiring police assistance. FOBTs have also been used to launder drug money and to clean cash from armed robberies. This has led to questions being asked in Parliament recently on the issue.
Last week the Labour Party blocked the automatic passage of a Government consultation which would keep the highly contentious machines at £100 per spin maximum stake. Now a swell of support led by Labour MP’s has gathered to urge the Government to place sensible restrictions on FOBTs.
“The Government had the chance to reduce the maximum stake on FOBTs to £2 and has once again tried to kick the issue into the long grass.”
“My constituency has one of the highest amounts of money spent in these machines of anywhere in the country, it is frightening that people can lose so much money in seconds and the danger of becoming hooked is very worrying.”
“These machines have been multiplying on our high streets for over ten years with increasing concerns about their dangers, not just here but in Ireland where they have already been banned. It can’t go on any longer and I will be support any move that leads to the Government taking immediate action on this issue.”