British public want restrictions on high-stakes betting machines

By Joe Lo
A recent poll has found that 70% of British people want extra restrictions on fixed odds betting terminals (FOBTS), while 73% think that the maximum stake of £100 should be reduced.

FOBTS have become the subject of significant political and media debate over the last few years.

The tax on them went up in March from 20% to 25% and the Campaign For Fairer Gambling (CFG), who commissioned the poll, have called for the maximum stake to be reduced to £2. When asked, 61% of people supported this proposal.

The CFG said that the poll had "unearthed the growing public discord towards fixed odds betting terminals".

A smaller majority of people questioned (50%) agreed with the broader principle that Government should limit stake and prize limits to protect problem gamblers, while 34% said it should be up to the individual. Labour supporters were significantly more likely than Tory, Lib Dem or UKIP voters to support Government intervention in this manner.

Respondents were given three options on how to reduce the potential issue of problem gambling caused by FOBTS. Of these, 30% opted for a reduction in the maximum stake, 25% supported giving local authority's greater powers over FOBTs and only 13% called for self-regulation. A total of 14% said none of these options would be effective.

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