Thank you for your email regarding the Government's proposed reforms to fixed odds betting terminals FOBTs.
I appreciate your concerns about the impact of the proposed changes: fixed odds betting terminals are important to the economic viability of many betting shops, which currently employ around 53,000 people nationally. However, we can’t ignore the evidence that has been presented on the potential impact these types of gaming machines can have on individuals and wider communities.
There has been a shift in attitudes within the industry, with more focus on social responsibility. However, Ministers are concerned that self-regulation has had a limited impact in tackling problem gambling and there are still large numbers of higher-staking machines in accessible locations, often in more deprived areas, where it’s possible to lose a large amount of money very quickly.
In 2016 the Government launched a review into gaming machines and social responsibility, with Ministers concluding that further action is necessary to strike the right balance between enabling people to bet responsibly and ensuring consumers and communities are protected. A consultation on proposals for changes to Gaming Machines and Social Responsibility Measures closed on 23 January and the Government is now considering the feedback received. I can assure you that I’ll read its conclusions very carefully indeed.
Thank you once again for taking the time to contact me.
With best wishes.