MPs back campaign to restrict big spending on gambling machines

Fixed Odds Betting Terminals
Fixed Odds Betting Terminals

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MPs across the area have backed The News’ campaign to restrict the amount that can be gambled on fixed betting odds terminals.

The News launched its Against The Odds campaign yesterday.

We have joined forces with Portsmouth City Council to call for action to restrict the machines to £10 per spin,

Conservative Havant MP Alan Mak said: ‘The government’s review will examine stakes and prizes, but more broadly we need to promote responsible gambling so I welcome The News’ campaign which shines a light on this locally. I hope News readers will share their thoughts, so a submission can be sent to government with local views.’

In Gosport, a total of £11,947,523 has been lost between 2008 and 2016.

The constituency’s MP Caroline Dinenage said: ‘When gambling gets out of control it can destroy people’s lives – that’s why I am glad the government launched a review into gaming and social responsibility last year.

‘The response is expected in the autumn, and I will follow this with interest.’

Portsmouth North MP Penny Mordaunt said: ‘The review does offer us an opportunity to ask for measures that would limit the ability for people to get into financial difficulty when gambling, and I will be looking to ensure we are feeding in Portsmouth’s experience to the consultation.’

Stephen Morgan Portsmouth South Labour MP said the government needed to ‘finally act’. He said: ‘I am very concerned by the widespread proliferation of fixed-odds betting terminals since the introduction of the Gambling Act.

‘For that reason I’ve signed an early day motion in parliament calling for the government to do more to tackle this to prevent the harm caused by such machines.

‘A record £1.82bn was lost by players on FOBTs last year. I want the government to publish a review of stakes and prizes as a matter of urgency and to commit to reducing the terminals in our communities.’

The News campaign is calling for the government to imminently carry out a planned review into FOBTs, and to support and highlight the work that charities do to help current and former gambling addicts.

Campaigners Stop the FOBTs said £53,297,234 was spent in the machines in Portsmouth, Fareham, Gosport and Havant.

The figures stated that of the area’s 64 betting shops, a total of £13,324,309 was lost on the area’s 233 FOBTs.

n If you have a problem with gambling and want help, Gamblers Anonymous meetings are at Buckland Community Centre in Portsmouth and at St Faith’s Church in Havant. Details are at gamblersanonymous.co.uk

n To share thoughts about FOBTs and – anonymously if you wish – to report your experiences, call Loughlan Campbell on 023 9262 2130 or email loughlan.campbell@thenews.co.uk.