RSPH has welcomed the UK government’s decision to cut the maximum stake on Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs) from £100 to £2.
In March 2015, as part of its Health on the High Street campaign, RSPH called for a reduction in the maximum bet that can be placed in one game on FOBTs from £100 to £2. FOBTs have been described as the ‘crack cocaine’ of gambling, with their capacity to be played rapidly and repeatedly representing a serious addiction issue.
There are over 30,000 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.
Shirley Cramer CBE, Chief Executive of RSPH, said: “Fixed Odd Betting Machines have blighted communities and caused untold damage to the public’s health, increasing the risk of debt, poor mental health, breakdown of personal relationships and suicide. Significant amounts of money are lost every minute in some of our most deprived communities, and this is simply hoovered up by major betting chains – not reinvested in supporting the local economy. We have long campaigned for the health impacts of FOBTs be recognized and mitigated and we are delighted that the Government has listened to common sense and put the interests of local communities before big business.”