Councils call for new measures to curb gambling

Councils are calling for greater powers to deal with controversial Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs) and the proliferation of betting shops.

The Local Government Association (LGA) has called for a change in the current maximum stake on FOBTs, which allow gamblers to stake up to £100 every 20 seconds.

The LGA are also urging the government to give local councils the power to veto new betting shops in areas where there are already existing clusters of shops.

Debt spiral

This comes after reports that Britons lost a staggering £12.6 billion to gambling last year – equivalent to almost £250 for every adult in the country.

Cllr Tony Page, the LGA’s Licensing spokesman, said that the issue of FOBT stakes must be addressed.

“As well as leading to spiralling debt, problem gambling can impact on individuals and their families’ physical, mental and emotional health and wellbeing as well as having a wider impact on society through crime and disorder”, he said.


The LGA website highlights that there are over 34,000 FOBTs across the UK.

Many are concentrated in deprived areas.

The organisation expressed its hope that the research will emphasise, “the need for government to look at these issues again”.


Research carried out on behalf of the Responsible Gambling Trust found that 28.1% of those who lived within 400m of a cluster of betting shops were problem gamblers, compared with 22.1% of those who did not.

Cllr Page commented: “Councils up and down the country are frustrated by the lack of powers they have to curb the number of betting shops on our high streets.”

He added that betting shop clustering has a “detrimental impact” on local high streets and individuals.


FOBTs reached their highest financial toll to date last year, with gamblers losing a record £1.7 billion.

The Cabinet Office blocked a review of FOBTs last year.

In 2015, the machines raised £425 million for the Treasury through taxation.

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