Stephen has revealed the staggering amount lost on Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs) in East Ham as the Government consultation on the maximum stakes allowed on these machines, draw to a close.
Stephen pledged his support to see the maximum stake reduced to £2 on these machines at the All-Party Parliamentary Group on FOBTs’ ‘Pledge for £2’ event in Parliament. The highly addictive machines which have been dubbed the ‘crack cocaine of gambling’ allow punters to stake £100 every 20 seconds on electronic versions of casino games such as roulette, but in a low supervision high street bookmaker environment.
New research shows that FOBT problem gamblers could be imposing a cost of £1.5 billion on themselves, their families and their wider social networks. The report published by the Centre for Economic and Business Research (Cebr), found that those on lower incomes or in deprived areas are the main beneficiaries of a reduction to a £2 stake.
Supporters of the campaign which includes the General Synod of the Church of England, 93 local authorities, the Royal Society for Public Health and politicians from all parties, have called on the Government to take action on these machine in order to protect the most vulnerable in the society.
Lending his support to the campaign for a stake reduction, Stephen said: “The case for action on FOBTs is clear and I urge the Government to view this process as an opportunity to protect the most vulnerable members of our society from harm.
“These machines have had devastating effects on families, individuals and communities, causing unemployment, violence and in some cases even, suicides. We cannot go on with this situation.
“I am extremely concerned to hear that £9,683,104. was lost to FOBTs in Eat Ham in 2016. The Secretary of State has a unique window of opportunity to cut the stake on FOBTs to £2, a level at the which the harm to families and individuals is significantly reduced.
“ I would urge anyone affected by these machines to respond to the Government’s consultation by visiting the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport website.”
The Government is seeking to reduce the stake on FOBTs from £100 to between £50 and £2, and has launched a 12 week public consultation on the stake options, which closes, midday on 23rd January.
The FOBT APPG is chaired by Carolyn Harris MP and is supported by groups including Bacta, The Hippodrome Casino, Novomatic, Praesepe and the Royal Society for Public Health.