Today, the Mayor of Newham, Rokhsana Fiaz welcomed the Government’s decision to reduce the maximum stake available on Fixed-Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs) from £100 to £2.
Mayor Fiaz said, “I am proud that as a Council, Newham has been at the forefront of the campaign to protect the poorest and most vulnerable. The industry has brought this upon itself by targeting the most deprived areas in the country”
Evidence has shown that betting shops cluster in the poorest areas. There are more than twice as many betting shops in the poorest 55 local authorities compared with the most affluent 115.
Newham is the 25th most deprived local authority area in the country, yet is currently supporting 81 betting shops across the borough, with 12 on one street alone.
FOBTs currently allow £100 to be bet every twenty seconds. According to statistics the Campaign for Fairer Gambling, nearly £20 million was lost through FOBTs by Newham residents alone in a single year.
Mayor Rokhsana Fiaz said: “As Mayor, I have committed to put people at the heart of everything the Council does. This includes protecting our borough from the social problems that these addictive machines create and ensuring that deprived communities and vulnerable residents are not exploited.”
“The Institute of Public Policy Research has shown that problem gambling costs our country as much as £1.16 billion a year but this figure doesn’t even begin to touch upon the human misery these “crack cocaine” betting machines create”
“This decision is long overdue and residents will be relieved that the Government has finally taken the only ethically responsible decision and reduced the stakes. It must now take swift action to implement the stake reduction. Newham residents will not tolerate any further delays”
“This decision must be part of a wider conversation and strategy by Government to take serious action to address problem gambling and irresponsible advertising practices online as well as on our high streets”
There has been widespread support by Newham residents for this change. The council asked residents for their thoughts on high street gambling and of those that responded :
84% wanted to see a reduction on the amount that can be bet on FOBTs
99% thought that there are too many betting shops in the borough
Newham Council has led a longstanding campaign for FOBT stake reduction and submitted the largest ever Sustainable Communities Act (SCA) proposal, backed by 92 other councils calling for a FOBT stake reduction to £2.