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In May 2018, the Government announced the reduction in the maximum stake on Fixed Odd Betting Terminals (FOBT) from £100 to £2. This was an important win for Parliamentarians, local communities, families, individual and industry bodies, who have been campaigning for a stake reduction. However, from the Government’s announcement, it appeared that the implementation of this policy change would not be immediate.
In this panel event, we will discuss the impact of a potential delay. Aside from the likely loss in revenue for the Treasury as result of the stake reduction, we will discuss the wider economic impact of the continued prevalence of FOBTs with stakes of up to £100. With gambling addiction linked to unemployment, would a delay to the ruling simply reduce taxes collected in other ways? Similarly, could money spent on FOBTs be diverted into other, more productive parts of the economy?
We know that FOBTs are particularly addictive compared to other forms of gambling, with low regulation in relation to risk. Thus, the longer that enforcement is delayed, the worse the impact will be on public health. Linked to this, funding for NHS treatment is out of kilter with other addictions, meaning that a longer enforcement period exposes more people to the risk of addiction, with a poorly funded system left to pick up the pieces. What preventative action can we take to reduce addiction, and on the other hand, what support and funding needs to be in place to treat addicts? Importantly, how can Government work together with industry to address these issues?
Finally, the implementation of the FOBT ruling will not end the dominance of betting shops on some high streets. Betting shops are particularly prevalent in deprived areas, which raises questions about the role that these shops play in contributing to place-making and local growth. How can this industry develop to benefit local prosperity, while also contributing to people’s wellbeing by supporting responsible gambling?
We are delighted to be joined by a fantastic panel of speakers, including:
Join us at the Library of Birmingham (Room 101) from 3:45pm until 5pm on Monday 1st October.
Register your interest here
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