£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.

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".

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."

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