Gambling crackdown with £2 max bet plan

Tougher restrictions will be in place for FOBTs

Tougher restrictions will be in place for FOBTs - Credit: PA Archive/Press Association Images

The maximum bet per spin on a Fixed Odds Betting Terminal could be slashed from £100 to £2 under a trailblazing proposal by Newham Council.

It hopes to canvas support from enough councils to lobby the Government to take action nationwide using the Sustainable Communities Act to eradicate what it describes as “highstakes casino gambling on our high streets”.

A reduced maximum bet would make it harder for gamblers to lose money quickly on the addictive machines, which offer a fresh chance to bet every 20 seconds.

More than 80 councils from across the country have indicated initial support for the idea, including those as far away as Northumbria and Sunderland.

Newham Council believes that the change would help prevent clustering, as many bookies have opened multiple premises in the borough in response to a cap of four FOBTs per premises.

Other envisioned benefits include a reduction in anti-social behaviour and a boost to the local economy.

Sir Robin Wales, Mayor of Newham, said the existing Government regulations have left the council “powerless”.

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“Our Sustainable Communities Act submission is our latest bid to put pressure on the government to curb the amount of anti-social behaviour caused by the proliferation of fixed-odds betting terminals,” he said. “We’re urging councils up and down the country who are blighted by the same problem to work alongside us to tackle this growing problem.”

Frankie Graham, director and project manager of Betknowmore, said reducing the maximum bet is a “worthy idea” although he warned that it is likely to face strong resistance from the gambling giants.

“FOBTs gambling is increasing and there is evidence that it is problematic as people can lose money very quickly before they have really had a chance to realise what they are doing,” he added.

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