Health chiefs in Wolverhampton have welcomed the Government's announcement that the maximum stake which can be placed on Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs) is to be slashed from £100 to £2.

Currently anyone gambling on a FOBT can bet between £1 and £100 every 20 seconds on casino games such as virtual roulette, or simulated horse and greyhound races, potentially losing significant amounts of money and placing people - including the most vulnerable in society - at serious risk of harm.

Previous Government consultation into gambling machines found consistently high rates of problem gamblers among players of FOBTs. A high proportion of these sought treatment for gambling addiction and identified these machines as their main form of gambling.

Councillor Hazel Malcolm, the City of Wolverhampton Council's Cabinet Member for Public Health and Wellbeing, said: "Wolverhampton has a number of betting shops across the City and we want to work with gambling operators and partners to ensure people gamble responsibly.

"Whilst gambling can be an enjoyable pastime for many, the harm being caused by FOBTs is well documented.

"I am therefore delighted that the Government is helping vulnerable gamblers by proposing to reduce the maximum stake people can wager on these machines.

"The move is not about placing a prohibition on gambling, it's about implementing reasonable measures to protect our communities from harm and improving their health and wellbeing; as such it is particularly appropriate that this announcement has been made during Mental Health Awareness Week 2018."

She added: "Gambling is an important public health issue and I am pleased that Public Health England has also been asked to carry out an evidence review which will inform action on prevention and treatment."

Changes to the stake will be through secondary legislation and are likely to come into effect in 2019. The move will need parliamentary approval and also engagement with the gambling industry to ensure sufficient time to implement and complete the technological changes.

For local help and support with gambling related harm, contact Recovery Near You on 0300 200 2400 for adults and 0300 123 3360 for young people, or email, visit Type=links;Linkid=10448;Title=Be Gamble Aware;Target=_blank; or Type=links;Linkid=10449;Title=Gamblers Anonymous;Target=_blank;.

  • released: Friday 18 May, 2018