Britain is facing a ‘generational time bomb’ of children conditioned to think that gambling is normal, says Bishop of St Albans

The following article by the Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, was published in the Daily Telegraph.

Britain is facing a ‘generational time bomb’ of children conditioned to think that gambling is normal

Alan Smith
17 AUGUST 2018 • 9:30 PM

Ask any parent or teacher and they will tell you children play a lot of online games, including Fortnite which has taken the world by storm. What they might not know is that these games allow children to gamble quite openly – just without money.

This is all legal because of a loophole. And at the same time, whether on tablets or phones, children are bombarded with ads which make gambling sound like harmless fun.

The combined effect of these two factors is that, like Pavlov’s Dogs, a generation of children are being conditioned to gamble. Continue reading “Britain is facing a ‘generational time bomb’ of children conditioned to think that gambling is normal, says Bishop of St Albans”

Bishop of St Albans asks Government about meetings with stakeholders on betting machines

On 25th July 2018 the Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, received a written answer to a question on meetings held by civil servants and ministers with stakeholders on fixed-odds betting terminals:

The Lord Bishop of St Albans:  To ask Her Majesty’s Government what meetings civil servants and ministers had with stakeholders between 1 January and 11 July about the reduction in stakes on fixed-odds betting terminals from £100 to £2; and what were the (1) dates, (2) locations, and (3) attendees, of each of those meetings. Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans asks Government about meetings with stakeholders on betting machines”

Peers back call by Bishop of St Albans for Government to cut stakes on betting machines without delay

On 10th July 2018 the Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, asked a question he had tabled to Government about the date for bringing in the promised reduction in stakes on fixed-odds betting terminals. The Bishop of Chester also asked a follow-up question and a full transcript of the exchanges is below:

Gambling: Fixed-odds Betting Terminals
Question

Asked by the Lord Bishop of St Albans:

To ask Her Majesty’s Government when the stake on fixed-odds betting terminals will be lowered to £2. Continue reading “Peers back call by Bishop of St Albans for Government to cut stakes on betting machines without delay”

Times: Bishop of St Albans voices concern about delay in reduction of betting machine stakes

On 16th June 2018 the Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, was a signatory to a letter to The Times newspaper registering concern about reports of a delay to the implementation of a reduction in stakes to £2 for fixed-odds betting terminals:

BETTING STAKE DELAY

Sir, Your report (June 15) that bookmakers have struck a backroom deal with the Treasury to delay for two years the implementation of the stake reduction on highly addictive fixed-odds betting terminals from £100 a spin to £2 is deeply disturbing. Continue reading “Times: Bishop of St Albans voices concern about delay in reduction of betting machine stakes”

Bishop of St Albans welcomes Government announcement on fixed-odds betting terminals

On 17th May 2018 Lord Ashton of Hyde repeated a statement made in the House of Commons by the Culture Secretary, about the Government’s new policy on gaming machines and social responsibility. The Bishop warmly welcomed the news that maximum stakes on fixed-odds betting machines would be reduced from £100 to £2:

The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, I too welcome this Statement, which represents a significant progress in our efforts to bring about a sensible and ordered scheme of gambling regulation in this country. I also pay tribute to the Minister in this House, to the Minister in the other place, to the Secretary of State and to the Prime Minister for their moral courage in the face of a lot of opposition in making this excellent decision, not least to reduce the stakes for FOBTs down to £2. Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans welcomes Government announcement on fixed-odds betting terminals”

Bishop of St Albans asks Government about the Consultation on proposals for changes to Gaming Machines and Social Responsibility Measures

On 6th April 2018 the Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, received a written answer to three questions about the Consultation on proposals for changes to Gaming Machines and Social Responsibility Measures:

The Lord Bishop of St Albans:

(i) To ask Her Majesty’s Government what meetings civil servants and ministers have had with stakeholders about the Consultation on proposals for changes to Gaming Machines and Social Responsibility Measures; and what were the (1) dates, (2) locations, and (3) attendees, of each of those meetings.

(ii) To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether all submissions to the Consultation on proposals for changes to Gaming Machines and Social Responsibility Measures will be published alongside the review.

(iii) To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they have commissioned small-scale qualitative research to assess the appropriate stakes for category B2 gaming machines. Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans asks Government about the Consultation on proposals for changes to Gaming Machines and Social Responsibility Measures”

Bishop of St Albans calls on Government to reduce stakes on ‘modern scourge’ of fixed-odds betting machines

On 22nd March 2018 the Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, asked a qurstion he had tabled about the social costs of fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs). A transcript of his question and those of other members in response, is below: 

Gambling: Fixed-odds Betting Terminals
The Lord Bishop of St Albans, To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the social costs of fixed-odds betting terminals.

Baroness Chisholm of Owlpen (Con): My Lords, the consultation on gaming machines and social responsibility measures closed on 23 January, and all responses are currently being considered. An impact assessment was published alongside the consultation in October and any additional evidence submitted, including on social costs related to FOBTs, will be taken into consideration. It was made clear at consultation that the stakes on FOBTs would be reduced, and the final position will be published in due course.

The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, these particular machines are a modern-day scourge which create misery and deepen poverty. Unemployed people are more likely to play these games than any other ​group. Citizens Advice has shown that, for every addict, six to 10 other adults are directly and adversely affected. The children and families of addicts are simply bewildered at the Gambling Commission’s suggestion that a stake of up to £30 might be acceptable. Will the noble Baroness assure the House that the needs of the vulnerable will be placed above concerns about either tax revenue or the gambling lobby, and that a £2 stake is the only answer? Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans calls on Government to reduce stakes on ‘modern scourge’ of fixed-odds betting machines”