Bishop of St Albans raises gambling addiction and social problems of fixed-odds betting terminals

Bishop St Albans June 2015On 22nd, 23rd & 24th July 2015 the Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, received answers to written questions on the scale of gambling addiction in Greater London and fixed-odds betting terminals:

Lord Bishop of St Albans: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their assessment of the research undertaken by the Campaign for Fairer Gambling into the social problems caused by fixed-odds betting terminals. [HL1485]

Baroness Neville-Rolfe: The Government remains committed to ensuring that people are protected from being harmed or exploited by gambling, and notes with interest any research relevant to that objective.

New legislation came into force to improve player protections on B2s (commonly referred to as ‘fixed-odds betting terminals’) in April, and the law was also changed to require planning applications to be submitted to local authorities for new betting shops.

We continue to monitor the effects of existing controls and if need be will take action if these controls are found to be insufficient.

(Via Parliament.UK)

The Lord Bishop of St Albans: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what data, if any, is collected on the number of people with gambling addiction in London; and what were the total numbers in (1) 2010, (2) 2011, (3) 2012, (4) 2013 and (5) 2014.
Lord Prior of Brampton: The Health and Social Care Information Centre does not collect information on the number of people with a gambling addiction.

The 2012 Health Survey for England did include a chapter on gambling which may be of interest although it does not give a count of people with a gambling addiction.

In 2012, for the first time, questions on gambling activity were included in the Health Survey for England. The chapter presents estimates of participation in all forms of gambling in the last year, followed by estimates of problem and at-risk gambling according to two different measurement instruments, the Diagnostic and Statistic Manual of Mental Disorders IV (DSM-IV) and the Problem Gambling Severity Index (PGSI).

The introduction to the chapter states:

  • In the last decade, the gambling landscape in Britain has changed significantly. This is evident with the rise of online gambling opportunities and also with the implementation of the UK Gambling Act 2005.
  • Fully implemented in 2007, this legislation overhauled the way commercial gambling is regulated, licensed and advertised in the UK. In Britain, gambling is positioned as a legitimate recreational and leisure activity, with policy responsibility held by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.
  • However, there is widespread recognition among policy makers, industry and health care professionals alike that, like alcohol consumption, some people who engage in gambling can experience harm.

A copy of the document ‘Health Survey England 2012’ , Volume 1, Chapter 7 has been attached.

It is planned to repeat this chapter in the 2015 survey which is expected to be published towards the end of 2016.

Health Survey for England 2012 Chapter 7 (PDF Document, 456.75 KB)


The Lord Bishop of St Albans: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what reasons or independent research underpin the present £100 limit on betting on fixed-odds betting terminals.

Baroness Neville-Rolfe:  In setting stakes and prizes limits the Government takes into account advice from the Gambling Commission – as the Government’s statutory advisor on gambling regulation – as well as available research and other evidence. The last review of stakes and prizes took place in 2013.

We are working with the Gambling Commission and industry to ensure that the new measures brought in earlier this year – including restrictions for the maximum unsupervised stake on B2 gaming machines (known as ‘fixed-odds betting terminals’) – are effectively evaluated. If need be we will take action if these controls are found to be insufficient.