Bacta joined forces with a broad range of stakeholders and individuals including the Church of England, The Royal Society for Public Health, numerous local authorities, gambling addicts, reformed addicts and representatives from both the House of Lords and the House of Commons in an unequivocal show of support for a reduction in the maximum FOBT stake to £2.
The All Party Parliamentary Group Impact Event, which was attended by bacta National President Gabi Stergides, Chief Executive John White and a delegation of bacta members, drew on the findings of the influential Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR), whose key findings demonstrate the impact of a maximum £2 FOBT stake to be up to 47 percent lower than that suggested by the Government’s initial impact assessment.
Reflecting on last week’s event, which was organised by Carolyn Harris MP (Swansea East) and held in the Palace of Westminster, John White said: “This was a powerful rallying call which brought together otherwise quite diverse groups united in their support for a maximum £2 stake. The event not only demonstrated the breadth of the support but also the intensity of that feeling. The government could not help but to have been moved by the passion of speaker after speaker advocating the necessity of the £2 maximum stake. On the basis of the evidence it is unconscionable to argue for any higher figure. The CEBR findings have served as an impressive counter point to that quoted by the government, which failed to take into account any aspect of income redistribution arising from such a reduction or the costs of addressing the very significant social problems caused by FOBTs.”
He added: “There can be no doubt that the toxic nature and reputational backwash caused by FOBTs has had and continues to have a negative impact on the low stake sector and bacta’s arguments in favour of a modest increase in stakes and prizes which were contained within our Triennial Review submission.”