Midlothian politicians unite to welcome Treasury response on FOBTs

Friday April 27th 2018

fixed odds betting terminals

Today Colin Beattie MSP and Danielle Rowley MP welcomed this week’s news that the UK Treasury would not object to a Government decision to reduce Fixed-Odds Betting Terminal (FOBT) maximum stakes from £100 to £2. SNP MSP Mr Beattie and Labour MP Ms Rowley campaigned on the issue earlier this year, engaging cross-party support from local councillors as part of the campaign.

Both wrote to Westminster regarding the current £100 FOBT maximum betting threshold and received responses reflecting the Government’s measures for reducing risks to vulnerable people and children as well as improving protections around online gambling, gambling culture, and advertising.

In her response to Mr Beattie and Ms Rowley, the Minister for Sport and Civil Society Tracey Crouch MP noted that results and responses to a 3-month Government consultation on the current FOBT maximum stakes are expected to be released “in due course.” Meanwhile, recent talks between Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond MP and Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Matt Hancock MP reflect optimism for a decision to be reached within the coming months.

Commenting, SNP MSP Colin Beattie said:

“I appreciate the helpful response from Tracey Crouch as it clarified Westminster’s stance on the issue of FOBT maximum stakes. I believe this shows that the UK Government is both cognisant of this problem and intent on finding the best solution for the population. Gambling can become a hidden illness with incredibly negative effects and FOBTs in particular encourage impulsive decision-making that can become detrimental to people, their families, and communities.”

“I look forward to a response from Westminster’s 31 October consultation and further developments regarding a decision on the maximum stakes.”

Commenting, Labour MP Danielle Rowley said:

“I welcome the news that the Treasury would not object to reducing Fixed-Odds Betting Terminal (FOBT) maximum stakes from £100 to £2. I am glad that the Minister has an understanding of how this issue can impact families. The responsibility is now on the Government to take action and legislate on FOBT maximum stakes. I look forward to seeing the consultation responses and seeing changes which would protect our communities from the harmful effects of FOBT. However, it is clear that this is an issue that we need to continue to campaign on until effective legislation is passed to limit FOBT maximum stakes.”

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