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Ethics – Gambling stakes

May 2018

Government recommendations to reduce the maximum stakes on fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs) have not gone far enough to tackle problem gambling, a charity has warned.

In March, the Gambling Commission recommended the maximum stake on FOBTs should be set at £30 or less. But campaigners believe it should be reduced to £2 — the same as slot machines — a move supported by many peers in the House of Lords, who called on the government during a recent debate to do more to tackle gambling addiction.

Currently, it is possible to bet up to £100 every 20 seconds on these machines, which has contributed significantly to gambling addiction and the resulting impoverishment of families.

In a statement, a CARE spokesman said, ‘While it is positive that the Commission has called for a cut in the stake, we strongly believe they have not gone far enough in suggesting that a £30 limit would be acceptable. We have called for, and will continue to call for, the maximum stake to be reduced to £2’.

In March, the Independent reported that FOBTs cost taxpayers as much as £210m a year, by placing extra demand on healthcare and other public services. It cited data from the Centre for Economics and Business Research, which revealed the roulette-style machines cost the public purse £116m in hospital in-patient visits, £32m in mental health services and £16m through criminal behaviour.