Derek Mackay MSP has welcomed today’s u-turn by the UK Government’s on the reduction of stakes of fixed odds betting terminals, with the reduction to £2 per spin to come into play from April.
Research from Landman Economics has shown that the average FOBT user loses £192 a month, with the average user of machines already capped at £2 a spin losing just £22 in comparison.
As reported in the Paisley Daily Express last year, over £6million was lost on Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs) in Renfrewshire during 2016.
The analysis shows in total, £25,625,215 was inserted into machines in Renfrewshire in 2016, with £6,406,304 lost. Between 2008 and 2016, £43,401,749 has been lost in Renfrewshire.
Currently there are approximately 150 FOBTs spread across Renfrewshire’s 40 betting shops.
The power to legislate on the regulation of gambling, including the power to change the limits on the machines, remains largely reserved to the UK Government.
In December 2016 the Scottish Government brought forward new legislation, meaning anyone intending to change the use of a premises to a betting shop is now likely to have to apply to their local planning authority for permission. Previously, some shops or services on the high street could easily be transformed into betting offices without needing any planning permission.
SNP MSP Derek Mackay said:
“I am glad the Tory Government has finally come to its senses and will bring forward the changes to cap the limit on these machines from April.
“FOBT games such as roulette are linked to gambling addiction, debt and family breakdowns. It has been one of the biggest social issues of the past decade in Scotland.
“But it’s imperative that we go further, such as tackling the link between young people and gambling and the easy availability of online gambling.”