Action to reduce betting stakes

Hounslow Council is urging the government to listen to local authorities and reduce the stakes on fixed odd betting terminals (FOBTs).

Published: Wednesday, 14th September 2016

Hounslow Council is urging the government to listen to local authorities and reduce the stakes on fixed odd betting terminals (FOBTs) from £100 to £2, in order to protect residents and preserve the nation’s high streets.

In November 2014, Hounslow alongside 91 other local councils, supported a Sustainable Communities Act proposal led by Newham Council.

The proposal called on the government to slash the maximum stakes on gaming machines found in high street betting shops from £100 a spin to £2, bringing them in line with other machines available in arcades, pubs and bingo halls.

It is thought that these lucrative machines, which include casino-style games like roulette, have caused the proliferation of betting shops on the nation’s high streets.

In July 2015 the government rejected the proposal, but in December last year, the Local Government Association (LGA), which represents 370 local authorities across England and Wales, urged the government to reconsider.

This Sustainable Communities Act proposal is the first to go through this appeal process where the government is expected to come to a compromise with the LGA and the lead local authority.

However, the government has only attended one meeting with the organisations since the proposal was resubmitted and missed the six month deadline to come to a conclusion.

Councillor Steve Curran, Leader of Hounslow Council, said: “It is disappointing for councils up and down the country that the government has failed to heed this call and take action to protect our high streets that have become overrun with FOBTs and betting shops.

“The Sustainable Communities Act was meant to enable local authorities like Hounslow to influence government, so that issues that prevent our area from flourishing are unblocked. But it has been more than 18 months since this proposal, the largest ever, was originally submitted and no action has been taken.

“Our residents have been blighted by these betting shops for long enough, the government needs to take action now to support our local economies and businesses.”

Councillor Curran will also urge local MPs Ruth Cadbury, Brentford and Isleworth and Seema Malhotra, Feltham and Heston to join the All-Party Parliamentary Group on FOBTs and add pressure from within Parliament.

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