FOBTs in the news: 11-17th April

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As the General Election approaches, every political party attempts to win the hearts and votes of the public by unveiling their party manifestos. The Campaign has eagerly awaited proposals to reduce FOBT maximum stakes from £100 to £2, with mixed results so far.

Labour’s manifesto certainly acknowledges the importance of limiting FOBT machines in its manifesto, however the Campaign was left unsure about what exactly the Labour Party is planning to do about the situation. The manifesto states the requirement of “particular types of shops” to apply for planning permission. However, it does not specifically name betting shops. As the party culpable for allowing FOBTs onto our high streets a decade ago, the Campaign is adamant they should be part of the solution.

Despite this, the FT ran an article featuring comments from Shadow Sports Minister Clive Efford, which claimed that if Labour wins the election, the party will force bookmakers to fund an independent study into whether the highly addictive machines cause problem gambling.

Meanwhile, the Liberal Democrats’ manifesto has pledged to reduce “the maximum stakes for Fixed Odds Betting Terminals”, a move the Campaign welcomes.

UKIP went one step further by committing to reducing the maximum stake on FOBT machines from £100 to £2 a spin, saying that this will “tackle problem gambling and anti-social behaviour.”

On Central Lobby this week the Campaign reflected on the success of its  efforts to get the FOBT issue included in party manifestos – and also discussed how the next government needs to answer the 93 councils who have joined together to demand action on FOBT stakes under the Sustainable Communities Act.

In the regional press, FOBT stories also made it into the print editions of the Wigan Evening Post and the North Liverpool Star.

If you have been affected by FOBTs, tell us your story.

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