Newham leads fresh attack in fight to lower stakes on betting machines

Newham Council has once again called for fixed odd betting machines to have their maximum stake lowe

Newham Council has once again called for fixed odd betting machines to have their maximum stake lowered from £100 to £2. Picture: Daniel Hambury/PA Archive - Credit: PA Archive/Press Association Images

Calls to lower the maximum stake on betting machines from £100 to just £2 per go have once again been submitted to the government.

Newham Council has challenged the Department for Communities and Local Government to reconsider its position after it refused the council’s Sustainable Communities Act proposal in July despite backing from 93 local authorities – a quarter of England’s councils.

The act was submitted in a bid to protect high streets from the proliferation of betting shops that has been seen up and down the country, in particular within more deprived London boroughs.

Newham has 83 premises with a bookmakers licence, with 15 on one high street alone.

Newham Council argues that the high stakes and licensing restrictions on gaming machines, also known as fixed odd betting terminals, has led to the clustering of betting shops, which are damaging already vulnerable local economies and often resulting in anti-social behaviour.

Under the Gambling Act, every betting shop is able to have up to four betting machines. Newham Council has said they believe this has contributed to a 44 per cent rise in betting shops in the borough since 2007.

Mayor of Newham Sir Robin Wales welcomed the latest development, saying “These fast-paced, electronic roulette wheels have sucked the life blood out of local economies. By reducing the profits made on these machines bookmakers will be forced to think again about their shop numbers.

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“We want our local high streets to thrive. In Newham, our efforts to prevent bookies opening have been continually thwarted by lax planning rules and a not fit for purpose legal system.

“The government must now listen, and not miss this opportunity to act in support of 93 councils representing an astounding 23 million people.”

The Local Government Association is supporting the resubmission of the act and will now spend the next six months negotiating with the government towards its aim of reducing the stakes on betting machines.