Melton Council has decided not to join a lobby group calling on the Government to reduce the £100-a-spin maximum stake on ‘addictive’ fixed odds betting terminals (FOBTs) found in betting shops.
More than 90 councils across England and Wales have joined forces in urging the Government to cap the stakes on the gaming machines to £2-a-spin.
These gambling machines allow players to bet on the outcome of various games and events with fixed odds. They’re usually touch screen operated and cover a variety of games, the most popular thought to be roulette.
In a letter forwarded to Melton Council James Thomas, president of the Hippodrome Casino in London, called on the authority to lend its support to the campaign.
He said: “Councils across the country know that the 33,000 FOBTs already in place are a source of problem gambling, crime and anti-social behaviour in their areas. One problem gambler lost £3,500 in under an hour in one betting shop.
“Recent research from the Responsible Gambling Trust confirmed that a third of people playing these high-speed, high stakes betting machines experience problems with their gambling.”
Mr Thomas’ request was discussed by the council’s rural, economic and environmental affairs committee last night (Wednesday, June 3).
Councillor Gerald Botterill voiced his support for the £2 per spin limit. He said: “This concerns me. Betting can get out of hand very rapidly and can hang onto people for the rest of their lives.”
But Pat Reid, the council’s regulatory services manager, said there was no evidence of any concerns in the Melton borough about the machines.
The committee decided there was insufficient evidence to support the campaign to limit the maximum stake to £2.