The UK’s Local Government
Association (LGA) has again urged the government to cut the maximum stake on
fixed-odds betting machines (FOBTs) in the region.
Punters in the UK can currently
wager up to £100 (€129/$145) on FOBTs, but the government has faced calls from
various groups to lower this to a maximum of £2.
The LGA has upheld this demand,
stating that stakes should be cut to £2 on FOBT machines in high street shops
and £5 in casinos, while also calling for cumulative impact tests to be
introduced to enable UK councils to reject applications for new betting shops
in areas where there are already a cluster of shops.
In addition, the LGA said that
current licensing laws should be updated to allow councils to take health
issues associated with problem gambling and anti-social behaviour concerns into
account when considering shop applications.
The organisation also noted that
a triennial review of gaming machine stakes in the UK is now due, with the last
assessment having been staged in January 2013.
Cllr Simon Blackburn, chair of
the LGA’s ‘Safer and Stronger Communities Board’, said: “Councils up and down
the country are worried about the number of high stakes FOBTs and betting shops
on our high streets, and are frustrated by the lack of powers they have to curb
“The higher stakes permitted on
FOBTs is significantly out of line with other high street gambling machines and
the harm and anti-social behaviour they can cause has become an issue of
growing national concern.
“A triennial review of machine
stakes is overdue, and with two-thirds of MPs calling for tougher regulation of
FOBTs, we urge the government to honour its previous commitment and launch a review
of stakes at the earliest opportunity.
“Bringing stakes in line with
other gaming machines in betting shops and elsewhere on high streets and
casinos, would help to protect those at risk from problem gambling, and would
be an important a step in the right direction.
“Councils are not anti-bookies
but a new cumulative impact test would give them the power to veto new shops –
and FOBTs - in areas already saturated by betting shops.”