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Update on FOBTs

by Leon Duveen on 17 May, 2018

Five years ago I wrote about the curse of FOBTs and raised the issue with our MP, John Mann, (you can read the piece here along with our email exchange).

At the time Mr Mann was very dismissive of my concerns and rejected the ideas that these machines should be controlled.

I haven’t pursued the campaign with much vigour as there have been many other issues although I have continued to be interested in it and followed developments.  I have been worried about the growth of “betting shops” across many (and especially more deprived) areas as they are often just an excuse to install more of these machines rather than to take bets over the counter.

So I was very glad to hear this morning that the Government has decided restrict the maximum stake on these machines to £2 per 20 second (down from £100).  This will help reduce the harm these betting machines can do.  I was also glad to hear Tom Watson, deputy Leader of the John Mann’s own party, welcome this saying that “The great tragedy of this is [that] for five years now pretty much everyone in Westminster, Whitehall and in the country has known that these machines have had a very detrimental effect in communities up and down the land.”

I wonder if Mr Mann has changed has views?

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