The Campaign for Fairer Gambling has revealed that a 25% tax rate on FOBTs may well wipe £78 million off the bookmakers’ profits – but does little to protect those affected by problem gambling.
Adrian Parkinson, Consultant for the Campaign for Fairer Gambling, said: “This increase in Gross Profits Tax (GPT) on FOBTs to 25% may well aid the treasury, but does little to deal with the many issues created by these machines as problem gambling research, education and treatment will not see any of this revenue.
“It will be suggested that this move will slow down the proliferation of betting shops on high streets, but the addictive nature of FOBTs means the bookmakers will still be raking in huge sums. The government should be looking at dealing with the root of the problem – the high stakes and high intensity play of FOBTs, rather than tax the losses of those addicted to them.
“We may also see a rise in the aggressive marketing of these products from the bookmakers, who will now be desperately trying to attract even more customers. This increase in tax will not be passed on to the FOBT gambler, so is unlikely to act as a deterrent in any way.
“The government should be focussing instead on the social and economic cost of problem gambling, which far outweighs the revenue generated by FOBTs, even at 25%. But with only one NHS problem gambling clinic in the UK, this seems a long way off.”