Bookmakers brought Fixed Odds Betting Terminals, or FOBTs, to the high street in 2001 and they were legitimised when the 2005 Gambling Act was enacted. However, the previous government acknowledged the potential dangers of high speed, high stakes casino content on gaming machines and stated that if any evidence emerged indicating FOBTs are addictive, the government can reduce the maximum stake without primary legislation.
At the moment, the maximum stake on FOBTs is £100, and it is possible to bet that amount every 20 seconds. We believe that FOBTs are irreconcilable with the objectives set out in the Gambling Act, which seek to protect young and vulnerable people, to prevent an association between gambling and crime and to ensure that gambling is fair and open.
As betting shops are continuing to open on our high streets to facilitate more FOBTs, we believe the best way to stem the proliferation of betting shops is to remove the high speed, high stake, hard core, addictive casino content that is sucking money from the poorest communities.
We launched stopthefobts.org to educate, gather support and collate personal accounts and opinions all in one place. We’re also encouraging MPs to take up the issue in Parliament and setting up localised campaigns with the aim of stopping the FOBTs for good.