Newham Council supports new law on 'crack cocaine' gambling machines
PUBLISHED: 14:55 19 December 2018 | UPDATED: 15:05 19 December 2018
The Mayor of Newham Rokhsana Fiaz has welcomed new rules which will see the maximum stake on Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs) slashed to £2.
The change, which was ratified by the House of Lords yesterday, means the reduction will be introduced in April next year.
FOBTs, dubbed ‘the crack cocaine of gambling’ because of their addictive nature, currently allow £100 to be bet every 20 seconds.
Newham Council was the first local authority to campaign for the reduction on the machines.
In 2014 the council submitted the largest ever Sustainable Communities Act (SCA) proposal, backed by 92 other councils calling for the reduction to £2.
According to the council, the borough has one of the highest concentrations of betting shops in the country – at its height there were 81 and 12 on East Ham High Street alone.
Statistics from the Campaign for Fairer Gambling claim nearly £20million was lost through FOBTs by Newham residents alone in a single year.
Welcoming the new regulations, Mayor Rokhsana Fiaz said: “FOBTs are a scourge on our high streets. They have been shown to cluster in deprived communities, contribute to crime and antisocial behaviour as well as cause problem gambling.
“For too long, FOBTs have had a devastating human cost.
“In Newham alone it is estimated that nearly £20 million is lost by our residents in a single year, and this doesn’t even begin to cover the social cost and human misery these dangerous and highly addictive machines create.
“These regulations come as a welcome relief to Newham residents.”