Wheel of misfortune


As the Government prepares a review of the gambling industry in Britain today, this report makes the case for better regulation of Fixed Odds Betting Terminals. Fixed Odds Betting Terminals are roulette-style machines that allow high stakes to be continuously gambled in quick spins. Loopholes in current legislation have led to the proliferation of these machines in high streets across the country – many of which are in some of our most deprived neighbourhoods.

This report shows how FOBTs have damaged the lives of people, the economic prosperity of the country and the social fabric of communities. It argues that exposing people and communities to addictive and compulsive forms of gaming on the high street has led to increases in problem gambling, personal indebtedness and family breakdown, and has accelerated the decline of high streets that were once at the heart of community life. And it shows how the growth of FOBTs has been bad for the economy by destroying jobs, damaging local shops and increasing the welfare bill. It does not need to be like this.

There is a consensus across political parties to reduce the stakes that can be gambled on FOBTs. The Government’s review of the gambling industry represents an opportunity to respond to these calls for consensus, by introducing better regulation of a situation that has worsened since Labour’s Gambling Act of 2005. In this report, we argue that a reduction of the maximum stake from £100 to £2 would represent a practical, viable way of addressing the damaging impact of FOBTs, and would enable the Government to put people, prosperity and places at the heart of their vision for the country.

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