lGA – The UK’s Local Governemt Association – has once again turned to the government with the request to lower the maximum stake that is put on FOBT’s (fixed-odds betting) machines in the UK.

At the moment, players in the UK can wager up to £100 (€129/$145) on FOBTs, however, there were some calls from many groups to cut the stakes to maximum of £2.

LGA supports the request; according to LGA the stakes should be reduced to £2 on FOBT machines in high street shops and £5 in casinos. The LGA calls also for cumulative impact tests to begin in order for UK councils to refuse new betting shops to appear in the area where the number of such shops is already sufficient.

What is more, the LGA calls for updating the current licensing laws so that councils responsible for considering shop applications would take also into account the matter of health issues resulting from gambling problems.

As the last gaming machine stakes triennial review in the UK was conducted in January, 2013, the LGA notes that it is about time to work on another assessment.

LGA’s chair of the ‘Safer and Stronger Communities Board’, Cllr Simon Blackburn, said: “Councils up and down the country are worried about the number of high stakes FOBTs and betting shops on our high streets, and are frustrated by the lack of powers they have to curb them.

“The higher stakes permitted on FOBTs is significantly out of line with other high street gambling machines and the harm and anti-social behaviour they can cause has become an issue of growing national concern.

“A triennial review of machine stakes is overdue, and with two-thirds of MPs calling for tougher regulation of FOBTs, we urge the government to honour its previous commitment and launch a review of stakes at the earliest opportunity.

“Bringing stakes in line with other gaming machines in betting shops and elsewhere on high streets and casinos, would help to protect those at risk from problem gambling, and would be an important a step in the right direction.

“Councils are not anti-bookies but a new cumulative impact test would give them the power to veto new shops – and FOBTs - in areas already saturated by betting shops.”

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