Anti-FOBT Law No Priority?

A proposed law that would reduce the stakes on fixed-odds betting terminals (l.) may not be considered by the UK parliament any time soon, according to reports. FOBTs have been compared to crack cocaine, and are the biggest moneymakers among all betting types in the UK.

Law would limit bets to £2

Legislation that would reduce bets on high-stakes gaming machines from £100 to £2 is “under threat,” reports the London Daily Mirror, because British Prime Minister David Cameron “has no time for it.”

Mirror Political Editor Nigel Nelson says Cameron’s government has not made time to consider the law, which would reduce the maximum bets on fixed odds betting terminals from £100 (US$156) to £2.

“FOBTs are highly addictive and can cause untold harm,” said bill sponsor and Liberal peer Tim Clement-Jones of the machines, which have proliferated rapidly around the country. “If the government is serious about helping people with gambling addiction, they should give my bill more time to ensure it can be properly debated.” The bill received its first reading in the House of Lords last month.

FOBTs, called the “crack cocaine of gambling,” now number 34,000 in betting shops across the country. Bookies make more profit from FOBTs than all other forms of betting combined, the Mirror reported. Figures from the UK Gambling Commission show the casino-style machines are making £1.6 billion a year compared with £1.4 billion from dog and horse racing, football betting and numbers games combined.

The publication says the campaign for a £2 maximum stake on the machines has received widespread support. The Mirror has also advocated for reducing the number of machines allowed in betting shops from four to one.