Stephen today joined with Bishops, charities, academics and fellow MPs in calling for the introduction of a maximum stake of £2 on Fixed Odd Betting Terminals (FOBTs). The co-signed letter was published to coincide with the second reading of the Gambling (Categorisation and Use of B2 Gaming Machines) Bill which will be debated today in the House of Lords. Lib Dem Peer, Lord Clement-Jones will put forward a proposal to reduce the maximum amount of money that can be played on a single game from the current limit of £100 to £2. The Bill is being introduced in an attempt to curb the impact of the highly addictive betting machines.
The signatories of the letter, published today in The Times, call for the Prime Minister to back the proposals presented in the Lords today to limit the maximum bet to £2 a game. In the letter they state that young men from disadvantaged areas are most likely to fall into problem use of FOBTs and they urge the Prime Minister to take meaningful action. This follows recent reports linking two suicides the use of FOBTs.
Stephen has been a long-term critic of FOBTs which are often referred to as the ‘crack cocaine of gambling’. The FOBTs have been found to have significant consequences on levels of crime and anti-social behaviour in the local area. In the past he has backed proposals for local councils to have the power to stop the spread of FOBTs in local communities. These proposals were voted down by the previous Coalition Government.