The Scottish National Party Member of the Parliament for Aidrie and Shotts Alexander Neil called for some measures to be taken in order for the Government to deal with the negative effects of fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs).
As reported by Casino Guardian on multiple occasions, FOBTs have brought massive contradiction across the UK gambling industry, with the machines being blamed for massive amounts of money lost as well as for the increasing number of gambling addicts in the country.
Campaign for Fairer Gambling Statistics
Mr. Neil urged the authorities to find a suitable solution to the problem after new figures showed that players in North Lanarkshire have lost the massive amount of approximately £90 million on fixed-odds betting terminals over a period of eight years. Figures also revealed that over £13 million were spent in 2015-2016 alone.
The information was presented by the Campaign for Fairer Gambling. It indicates that players who placed bets on fixed-odds betting machines on the territory of Scotland have spent over £1.1 billion in the eight years from 2008 to 2016.
According to Alexander Neil, the figures cited were “incredibly concerning”. He also reminded of the high addictiveness of the terminals, calling them “toxic” machines and said that the Government could simply not ignore the seriousness of the issue that caused such a detrimental effect on the local communities.
What Airdrie and Shotts MSP calls the UK Government to consider and impose more serious measures in terms of fixed-odds betting terminals, including a crackdown which could end up with a massive reduction of the maximum FOBTs stakes allowed. The machines have been widely criticised not only for the large maximum stakes allowed, but also for the short playing time and availability. Currently, the maximum stake that could be placed on the local fixed-odds betting terminals amounts to £100. Players are allowed to place a bet every 20 seconds, which often leads to massive amounts of money being lost.
UK Government Dealing with FOBTs Issues
FOBTs issues have raised not the concerns not only of the Government but also of a number of non-governmental authorities and charity organisations over the past few years.
Currently, the UK Government has been engaged with a thorough gambling industry review that is primarily focused on forging a strategy to tackle with FOBTs negative effects. First, the review was planned to be released in June, but it was postponed for the autumn of 2017 due to disagreements which arose between the Department for Culture, Media and Sports (DCMS) and the UK Treasury. Now, the review is expected to be officially released in October.
There have been some uncertainty about the UK Government’s strategy for dealing with the problem, but one of the possible effects could be a FOBTs crackdown with a massive reduction of the maximum stake allowed. According to Mr. Neil, the competent authorities must do everything possible in order to adequately protect local customers and prevent them from losing such massive amounts of money on the machines.