Newham mayor repeats call for action on FOBTs
The London borough of Newham on Sunday repeated its call for the introduction of legislation to reduce the maximum permitted stake on fixed odds betting terminals from £100 to £2 on the day the government's request for evidence on the matter closed.
Sunday marked the final point when interested parties could add their voice to the government's review of gaming machine stakes and prizes as well as their number and allocation.
Amid fears culture secretary Karen Bradley will take strong action against the machines, the Association of British Bookmakers has relaunched a 'back your local bookie' campaign, but mayor Sir Robin Wales believes there are far too many bookmakers in Newham.
Wales said: "Since 2008 Newham have tried to rein in the gambling industry but despite our strenuous efforts and the wishes of our residents we have been unable to stop the blight of betting shop clusters on our high streets.
“We now have 84 betting shops in our borough – that’s over six for every square mile. Reducing stakes on FOBTs is the only way to ensure our high streets are appropriately regulated and this will make bookies rethink the number of shops they want operate on our streets, particularly in deprived areas.
“On behalf of Newham’s residents and our 92 other local authority supporters we look forward to the government taking firm and swift action to address this issue.”
As well as reviewing FOBTs, the government is assessing whether bookmaker advertising should be banned on television before 9pm.