Churches welcome cut to betting machine stakes

FobtsThe United Reformed Church has joined a group of churches and faith-based organisations and issued a welcome to the government’s response to the review of fixed odds betting terminals (FOBTs).

In a statement, the URC, The Salvation Army, The Methodist Church, The Church of Scotland, The Baptist Union of Great Britain, the Evangelical Alliance UK, Quaker Action on Alcohol and Drugs, CARE, The Mission and Public Affairs Council of the Church of England said:

‘FOBTs are a serious problem in society and for local communities, families and individuals. Evidence links them to patterns of addictive behaviour, large financial losses and anti-social and criminal behaviour. Today we warmly welcome the Government’s commitment to cap maximum stakes on FOBTs at £2.

‘We are clear that solving problem gambling goes much broader than responding to the challenge of FOBTs. We therefore welcome the player protection measures, being taken forward by the Gambling Commission.

‘In welcoming this proposed action we want to make it clear that in addition to the major challenge presented by FOBTs, there are also wider issues associated with gambling that require serious political commitment to address. Therefore we note that at this stage new powers to oversee gambling have not been given to local authorities. We ask the government to re-visit this.

 ‘We also note that the government stated that “gambling-related harm is a health issue”, and welcome the announcement that Public Health England (PHE) is to conduct an evidence review of health aspects of gambling-related harm to inform action on prevention and treatment.'