Chesterfield MP, Toby Perkins, is urging the Government and bookmakers to take action to kerb excessive gambling on Fixed Odd Betting Terminals (FOBTs) after figures from the Campaign for Fairer Gambling revealed Chesterfield customers lost £2,594,206 in 2015-16.
Toby said, “These machines allow users to gamble up to £100 every 20 seconds, which can quickly lead to huge losses and can become highly addictive for some people. The Government need to take action now, rather than extending the consultation on this issue and kicking it in to the long grass. As well as reducing the amount that can be spent on an individual spin, I would urge the Government and industry to look at pre-pay top-up cards that people use in high street bookmakers, rather than using cash. This would allow companies to monitor and restrict excessive gambling”.
A report released by the Campaign for Fairer Gambling has shown British gamblers lost a total of £1.7 billion on FOBTs in 2015, and 11.5% of all FOBTs users are serious gambling addicts. In Chesterfield, £17,575,381 was lost on FOBTs between 2008-16.
Toby added, “It is important we don’t throw the baby out with the bath water and cause thousands of bookies to close. Bookmakers have been one of the more resilient shops on our high streets and the revenues from business rates and taxes they generate are vital to the public purse. I would urge the Government and bookmakers to work together to come up with a solution that protects customers, encourages responsible gambling and doesn’t close down shops, but reduced the amounts that people can lose in a single spin, which could lead to people gambling excessively online or moving to venues with less regulation on machines, such as casinos and pubs.”