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'Gambling legislation is not working for anyone', Christian charity calls for more action after FOBT max stake cut

Mon 01 Apr 2019
By Marcus Jones

Christian charity CARE is calling for further action on gambling as it welcomes the cut in maximum stakes on fixed odds betting terminals.

From Monday, it's been cut from £100 to £2 with the aim of helping to prevent gamblers who use the machines from getting into serious debt.

The move, introduced by the government comes following lobbying from various churches and Christian groups including CARE.

 

Jeremy Wright, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, said: "Reducing the potential loss per spin from £100 to £2 is a significant step forward in protecting vulnerable people.

"The Government's actions and ambitions stretch much further and we are looking at further treatment of those who have suffered from gambling-related harm, whether gambling on credit should be limited and considering what actions are necessary to tackle problem gambling online."

CARE's Chief Executive, Nola Leach has welcomed the move, but wants further action.

She said: "It is great to see the needs of gambling addicts put firmly before the interests of the bookies and the Government should be commended for doing the right thing and cutting the stakes.

"But there is much more work that needs to be done to tackle problem gambling in Britain. It's fair to say that current gambling legislation is not working for anyone, including children and young people across Britain.

"The Government must address gambling relating harms and this must include a wider discussion about football's disturbing relationship with the gambling industry, online gambling harms and making sure that there is sufficient and well-funded support for problem gamblers.

"The next step should be making sure there is a statutory levy on gambling companies, so they pay their fair share to support addiction services.

"Our polling shows this would be popular with the wider population and let's be honest, the bookies have had long enough the get their house in order."

Betting Shops on the high street - Copyright IO8 Photography / REX

 

Critics of the maximum stake reduction say gamblers will turn to other forms of betting.

Neil McArthur, chief executive of the Gambling Commission, said players may take up online, mobile or high street gambling after the stake cut, and has written to bookmakers reminding them of their responsibilities to consumers.

He said: "Together with Government and the industry we must continue our ongoing work to make the whole industry safer - this includes continuing to make progress with making other products safer, as customers may move to gamble in other ways.

"It's imperative that operators invest in and use data, technology and measures to identify harmful play and can step in to protect players when needed.

"They should be innovating to protect their customers, as much as they do to make a profit."

Stricter identity and age check rules for online gambling will also come into effect from May.

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