“In response to the Daily Mail article, which reported a “crackdown” on FOBTs, the Campaign for Fairer Gambling is concerned that the Government’s rhetoric is misleading.
In a newsletter earlier this year, the Association of British Bookmakers boasted of their influence in averting a separate review of FOBTs. Instead, the Government decided to include Category B2, which facilitates £100 stakes on FOBTs, in the Triennial Review of Stakes and Prizes – a mechanism traditionally used to increase either or both in line with inflation.
A stake reduction on FOBTs in the Triennial Review was therefore unlikely, but it has allowed the Government to imply that they have “cracked down” on FOBTs by capping the maximum stake at £100 until 2016. The only responsible course of action would have been to reduce the maximum stake to £2, bringing FOBTs in line with all other Category B gaming machines as a matter of precaution and to comply with the licensing objective of prevention of harm to young and vulnerable persons, until it is determined that FOBTs are not addictive, as all available evidence suggests that they are the most addictive form of gambling.”