Thursday 25th October 2018
FOBT APPG PUBLISHES REPORT ON DELAYED IMPLEMENTATION OF £2 FOBT STAKE
Report finds bookmakers are the only beneficiary of delayed implementation of £2 stake
MPs call on Government to act in the public interest and implement £2 stake immediately
The Fixed Odds Betting Terminal APPG has today ( 25 October) published the findings of its short inquiry looking at the urgent need to implement the £2 stake.
The inquiry was launched, following the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport’s announcement in May that the stake on Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs) will be reduced to £2, a decision that the APPG very much welcomed. However, the group was deeply concerned to hear that implementation of this reduced stake may be delayed until 2020.
The report found that:
- The technical changes to the B2 machines can be done as quickly as three months and if an implementation date, earlier than April 2019 was set, bookmakers and the games manufacturers would be able to make the required changes in time.
- Bookmakers and games manufacturers are the only beneficiary of a delayed stake reduction to the tune of over £1bn, whilst the Treasury and wider society would see net losses, particularly in the most deprived communities.
- Contrary to arguments put forward by the bookmakers, stake reduction could in fact lead to job creation. A recent report by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr) found that £100 million in GVA contributions to GDP could be lost in net terms for each year of delay in implementation, and could therefore lead to a delay in the realisation of a potential net boost in employment of about 2,800 jobs in far more profitable areas of employment.
The report notes that the most important reason for immediate stake reduction is a moral one, it describes it as an issue of social justice which must be resolved. It concludes that it is morally reprehensible that the Government is propping up its finances through taking revenue from FOBTs which in turn take money often from those who can least afford it.
Furthermore, with the Government proposing to increase Remote Gaming Duty from April 2019, it is not morally justifiable to continue to gain revenue from FOBTs for a further year when an alternative revenue stream will have been put in place.
The FOBT APPG, chaired by Carolyn Harris MP, heard from a range of key witnesses including the Minster for Gambling, Tracey Crouch MP, the Executive Director of the Gambling Commission, the Church of England, Games
Manufacturers and most powerfully of all from the families of those who had taken their own lives due to gambling and FOBT addictions.
Carolyn Harris , Chair of FOBT APPG said:
“During this enquiry, we heard first-hand about the tragedies caused by these machines.
“From the evidence we heard, it is clear to us that the bookmakers are being misleading and disingenuous to claim such a long time is required to make the technical changes to FOBT machines. Clearly the profit they make from FOBTs provides an incentive to delay the reduction as long as possible.
“The harm being caused by FOBTs cannot go on. It is now time for the Government to do the right thing.
“It is time for it to stop bending to the will of a large corporate interest, namely the bookmakers, and implement a £2 stake on Fixed Odds Betting Terminals now.”
Further information on the All Party Group can be found at www.fobt-appg.com
Notes to Editors
1. The Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBT) All Party Parliamentary Group has been created to provide a forum for discussion and further investigation into the impact of FOBTs in our communities. This group, powered by the passion of the members in both houses of Parliament on this issue, allows a coordinated effort among politicians of all political parties, to come together to discuss how best to address the issues that FOBTs are causing to our communities.
2. For more information, please contact Carolyn Harris MP, the Chair of the Fixed Odds Betting Terminals All Party Parliamentary Group or the secretariat for the Group: Tosin Adedayo firstname.lastname@example.org T: 020 7592 3825
3. The full list of APPG members are:
- Carolyn Harris MP (Chair)
- Iain Duncan Smith MP (Vice – Chair)
- Lord Chadlington (Vice – Chair)
- Ronnie Cowan MP (Vice – Chair)
- Stuart McDonald MP
- Stephen Timms MP
- Neil Parish MP
- Sir Peter Bottomley MP
- Liz McInnes MP
- Graham Jones MP
- Ruth Cadbury MP
- Hannah Bardell MP
- Jeremy Beecham MP
- Ian Blackford MP
- Kirsty Blackman MP
- Fiona Bruce MP
- Sir Vince Cable MP
- Lisa Cameron MP
- Lord Clement Jones
- David Crausby MP
- Wayne David MP
- Judith Cummins MP
- Lord Dholakia MP
- Lord Foster of Bath
- Louise Haigh MP
- David Lammy MP
- Jeremy Lefroy MP
- David Linden MP
- Jonathan Lord MP
- Liz McInnes MP
- Jim McMahon MP
- Jim Shannon MP
- Alan Smith MP
- Jeff Smith MP
- Alison Thewliss MP
- Charles Walker MP
- Sammy Wilson MP