Martin Docherty-Hughes, MP for West Dunbartonshire, has welcomed a further climbdown from the UK government over highly-addictive Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs).
After last week’s announcement that the £2 cap on maximum stake will be brought forward to April 2019, from October 2019, the UK government has accepted a successful amendment by the SNP to the Finance Bill, which inserts a new clause requiring a review of the public health effects of these gambling terminals.
SNP MPs have long campaigned on the issue of gambling related harm, and have repeatedly urged the UK government to heed the evidence from organisations and cross-party MPs, rather than capitulating to the interests of bookmakers.
Research from Landman Economics has shown that the average FOBT user loses £192 a month, with the average user of machines already capped at £2 a spin losing just £22 in comparison.
Martin Docherty-Hughes MP said:
“It’s welcome that the UK government has finally come to its senses and agreed to take action to tackle the harm caused by Fixed Odds Betting Terminals.
“FOBTs destroy lives – impacting mental health, employment and financial stability in our communities. In West Dunbartonshire alone an estimated £3.9 million per year is being lost by local residents using these machines.
“The SNP has long campaigned for a more responsible maximum stake of £2 on FOBTs, which evidence shows will particularly benefit people on low incomes in deprived areas.
“It’s a step in the right direction and the UK government must now undertake a full review of the impact of FOBTs on public health to help address gambling related harm in our communities.
“The welfare of individuals and their families must take priority over the profits of bookmakers.”