RSPH welcomes the Government’s U-turn on its decision to delay the promised reduction of the maximum stake on Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs). The maximum stake reduction from £100 to £2 will now again take place in April 2019.

RSPH has long called for the reduction in the maximum bet that can be placed in one game on FOBTs as part of its Health on the High Street campaign, and as outlined in its latest report, Running on Empty.

Described as the ‘crack cocaine’ of gambling due to their capacity to be played rapidly and repeatedly, they represent a serious addiction issue. There are over 33,000 FOBTs on high streets across the UK, on which regular players spend an average of £1,209 annually. This is considerably higher than the average £427 spent annually on over the counter bets such as those on horse racing and other sports.

RSPH has now launched a new free access e-learning programme, commissioned by charity GambleAware, as a resource to assist workers to provide brief intervention to address risks and harms related to problematic gambling.

Shirley Cramer CBE, Chief Executive, RSPH said: “For far too long we have known the devastating impact of FOBTs, with significant amounts of money being lost every minute in some of our most deprived communities. These highly addictive machines have contributed to poor mental health, the breakdown of personal relationships and even suicide.

"Having long campaigned for the health impacts of FOBTs to be recognised and mitigated, we are delighted that the Government has finally listened to common sense and prioritised the interests of local communities and the public’s health in what is a vital step in curbing some of the worst excesses of the industry.”