Gambling Commission recommends £30 maximum stake for non-slot betting games

Gambling Commission has recommended a maximum �30 stake for some betting machines Picture: Daniel Hambury/PA Wire
Gambling Commission has recommended a maximum �30 stake for some betting machines Picture: Daniel Hambury/PA Wire
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THE maximum stake for fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBT) should be cut to £30 or less, the Gambling Commission has recommended.

High-stake, electronic casino games are said to be dangerously addictive and currently allow a stake of up to £100 every 20 seconds.

The Gambling Commission has said the stake limit for FOBT non-slot games, including roulette, should be set at £30 or less.

It suggested the limit for FOBT slots stakes should be £2.

Last year The News launched its Against The Odds Campaign, working with Portsmouth City Council to lobby the government to impose a reduced £10-a-spin restriction on the gambling machines.

The Gambling Commission said the measures are necessary ‘if it is to have a significant effect on the potential for players to lose large amounts of money in a short space of time’.

The advice, to support the government with a review of gambling machines, was among a raft of suggestions designed to help minimise the risk to vulnerable people.

Neil McArthur, chief executive, said: ‘We’ve put consumers at the heart of our advice - advice which is based on the best available evidence and is focused on reducing the risk of gambling-related harm.

‘In our judgment, a stake cut for fixed-odds betting terminals alone doesn’t go far enough to protect vulnerable people.

‘That is why we have recommended a stake cut plus a comprehensive package of other measures to protect consumers.

‘We have proposed actions that will tackle both the risk of harm and provide solutions that are sustainable in the longer term.’

As previously reported, figures published in 2016 by Stop the FOBTs estimate £61.7m was poured into 231 machines in Portsmouth, Fareham, Havant and Gosport in the 12 months to September 2015.

Campaigners say £12.34m was lost on FOBTs. In total £331.8m was gambled, which includes games played using winnings from original stakes.

Last year, chancellor Philip Hammond dropped his opposition to plans to reduce the betting amount to £2 per spin.

The Association of British Bookmakers said it is considering the recommendations.

A spokesman said: ‘We fully understand that there is public concern and that there will be a stake cut to reduce the levels of losses on machines in betting shops.

‘The Commission has also identified a number of responsible gambling measures that will benefit those experiencing problems with their gambling.

‘The final decision remains to be made and we await the outcome of the consultation.’