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Government rejects Newham Council's campaign to reduce stakes on fixed-odds betting terminals

PUBLISHED: 18:41 16 July 2015 | UPDATED: 18:59 16 July 2015

A fixed odd betting terminal. Picture: PA Images/Daniel Hambury

A fixed odd betting terminal. Picture: PA Images/Daniel Hambury

PA Archive/Press Association Images

The Newham mayor has called the government's decision to turn down the council's initiative to reduce the stakes on fixed-odds betting terminals "an insult".

In November 2014, Newham Council, backed by 92 other local authorities, submitted the largest ever Sustainable Communities Act proposal to government in November 2014 calling for the reduction of the stakes on fixed-odds betting terminals from a maximum of £100 to £2 per spin.

However, the initiative was rejected by the government today - just days after it was revealed that residents across the borough lost £18,323,635 on the controversial betting terminal in the last year alone.

Sir Robin Wales, Mayor of Newham, said: “The government’s decision is an insult to the 93 councils who raised concerns over these high-stake gaming machines.

“Betting shops, spurred on by these FOBTs, have taken over our high streets and current planning and gambling laws are failing to protect our towns and high streets.

“Newham Council has explored every avenue to stop the spread of betting shops. We will challenge this decision, because without a reduction in stakes, FOBTs will continue to blight the nation’s high streets.”

Newham currently has 83 premises with a betting shops licence, with 15 on one high street alone.

London mayoral candidate, Sadiq Khan, who was backing the campaign, said he was “disappointed” by the decision.

He said: “I am deeply disappointed this Government has chosen to ignore the overwhelming evidence of the damage these machines have on local communities.

“They are a blight on our society and it is abundantly clear that tougher regulation is needed to combat their corrosive influence.”

Under the Gambling Act 2005, betting shops are allowed to have up to four fixed-odds betting terminals on their premises.

Many include a digital game of roulette, while others simulate horse racing, bingo and a range of slot machine games.

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