London Council Urges Stronger Action On Gambling

stop on gambling machine

Brent Council in London has announced that it will push for tougher gambling regulations following the recent announcement by the UK government regarding changes to the regulations on Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs).

The Council has been a supporter of the successful campaign to reduce the maximum stake on the machines from £100 to £2. Following a long period of consultation, the government originally announced that the changes would be implemented in October 2019, which would enable the gambling industry to earn up to £900 million from FOBTs in the interim.

But following the resignation of sports minister Tracy Crouch, and a cross-party rebellion in Parliament that involved 100 MPs, the Government backed down, bringing the new regulations forward to April 2019. And, while they welcomed the decision, the council, which has recently signed off on a statement of principle over how gambling is licensed in the borough, wants to see more action from the government to limit the potential harm of problem gambling.

Increased powers

Speaking to the London media, Cllr Tom Miller, who has responsibility for community issues at the Council, said that the government’s decision was the right one, but that more needed to be done:

We backed legislation to limit FOBT stakes to a maximum of £2, and we continue to support the aims of the all-party parliamentary group who are calling for local authorities to have powers to prevent clusters of betting shops.”

Cllr Miller said that Brent Council would be pushing for local authorities to be given the power to compel bookmakers to relocate premises that are operating in areas where residents are particularly vulnerable. He also said that he wanted to see more protection for individuals affected by problem in areas where bookmakers operate.

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