Durham County Councillor Joy Allen, who strongly backed the latest changes in the UK gambling sector, welcomed the recently-announced restrictions on gambling saying that the amendments could save lives. Ms. Allen is known for her efforts in lobbying with the Legal Government Association (LGA) for adequate reforms to be brought to the industry in order to prevent players from being affected by gambling-related harm.
Only a week ago, the UK Government announced plans to reduce the maximum stake allowed on fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs), which offered players to place up to £100 every 20 seconds. After a prolonged consideration and consultations on the matter, the Government officials decided to reduce the maximum stake on the machines to £2.
Now, the Durham County Councillor Allen shared her hopes that the new rules would encourage players who suffer from problem gambling behaviour to seek some professional help and advice in order to deal with their addictions. Ms. Allen who is also part of the LGA’s innovations and improvement board explained that the amount that players could lose was too large even for high-rollers.
According to her, gambling addicts were dealing with the severe consequences from problem gambling behaviour and were trying to find a way to change their lives. Ms. Allen also reminded that unlike alcohol or drug addictions, problem gambling is not easy to be detected.
Customers’ Well-Being Should Be Put First, Says Allen
UK bookmakers have strongly opposed the intentions of the UK Government to cut the allowed maximum stake of the machines to £2. Right before the announcement took place, William Hill said such a decision would pose a “tough challenge” to local bookmakers, should competent authorities impose such a restriction on the FOBTs stakes. The bookmaker also issued a warning that it could see approximately 900 of its betting shops generate losses, with some of them facing the likelihood to be closed after the new limit comes into effect.
For the time being, there are seven betting outlets located within one mile in Bishop Auckland. With a number of shops this large, players could lose almost £200 in half an hour on fixed-odds betting machines, according to estimates.
As reported by The Northern Echo, Councillor Allen shared her belief that despite a limit of four machines per betting shop which has been imposed thanks to the latest changes, the opening of other shops in close proximity would provide customers with increased access to the FOBTs, with clusters of shops being created.
According to Councillor Allen, the customers’ needs should be put first, despite the risks for the industry, such as possible lay-offs and betting shops closures. She also said that despite the fact that the industry has warned about the negative effect which the operators would be forced to face, the detrimental effect on the customers’ health and well-being is even stronger.