Sammy has backed the call from the All Party Parliamentary Group on FOBTs to cut the maximum stake allowed to £2. The current stake permitted by law is £100 every 20 seconds and studies have revealed that last year punters lost a staggering £1.7bn on these machines. These machines are linked to problem gambling which causes massive hardship for many low income and vulnerable families.
Punters can stake £100 every 20 seconds on electronic versions of casino games in a low supervision environment in high street bookies. There is concern about the addictive nature of these machines one campaign group has called them the “crack cocaine” of gambling.
The All Party Parliamentary Group has recommended that the maximum stake should be reduced to £2 and it has the support of churches, local authorities, The Royal Society for Public Health and every political party in Westminster.
The case for this change is clear and I urge the Government to act now to cut the stake. There is no excuse for the misery these machines are causing and the problems associated with them are obvious. It is not acceptable that anyone can walk in from the street and place such large bets with no checks or safeguards.
Their use is widespread across the whole of the UK including Northern Ireland and I call upon the government to implement this sensible change in the law.