Bishop of St Albans letter to The Times on Government review of fixed odds betting terminals

On 14th September 2017 The Times newspaper published a letter from the Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, about the forthcoming Government gambling review and the need to address the issue of fixed odds betting terminals:

Problem gambling

Sir, It is encouraging to read that the prime minister is putting her weight behind the reduction in stakes for fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs) (“Treasury backs down on fixed-odds betting curbs”, Sep 12). The present maximum stake of £100 for an FOBT looks like an anomaly compared with the stakes permitted in other licensed gaming machine categories, which range from £1 to £5. The £100 stakes allow FOBTs to wreak disproportionate harm.

Almost one third of people who play on these machines are estimated to be “at-risk gamblers”, compared with only 6 per cent of lottery players or about 11 per cent of scratchcard players, according to the Gambling Commission’s latest figures.

Ninety-three local councils support a reduction in stakes to £2, as do numerous community groups and individuals with direct experience of gambling-related harm. Their voices are the ones that need to be heard when the government reviews the stakes for FOBTs.

Dr Alan Smith
Bishop of St Albans

(via The Times)