£30 fixed-odds betting terminals limit outrageous, campaigners say

Campaigners against fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs) have criticised a regulator after it failed to adopt a maximum stake of £2.

The Gambling Commission has said the stake limit for FOBT non-slot games, including roulette, should be set at £30 or less.

High-stake, high-speed electronic casino games are said to be dangerously addictive and currently allow a stake of up to £100 every 20 seconds, enabling a player to theoretically gamble away £18,000 an hour.

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Jim McMahon, Labour MP for Oldham West and Royton, said he is "disappointed" with the guidance and tweeted: "I hope Gov go further".

Carolyn Harris MP described it as "outrageous" that the watchdog was not "brave enough" to adopt the £2 limit and said the machines "blight" lives.

Matt Zarb-Cousin, a former spokesman for Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn who now campaigns for fairer gambling rules, said the Government will make the final decision and urged people to "keep up the pressure".

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Labour MP David Lammy tweeted: "I have been campaigning against FOBTs for almost a decade and sincerely hope that the Government will now look at the evidence and cut maximum stakes to £2.

"For too long these machines have been ruining lives."

The Gambling Commission said the stake limit should be £2 on FOBT slot games, such as fruit machines.

It also suggested game limits per session, tracked play and player limits in the report.

Gambling Commission chief executive Neil McArthur said: "We've put consumers at the heart of our advice - advice which is based on the best available evidence and is focused on reducing the risk of gambling-related harm.'

"In our judgement, a stake cut for fixed-odds betting terminals alone doesn't go far enough to protect vulnerable people.

"That is why we have recommended a stake cut plus a comprehensive package of other measures to protect consumers."