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Labour parliamentary debate to curb the FOBTs


Saturday, March 26, 2016

Labour parliamentary debate to curb the FOBTs


January 7th, 2014

Following on from my previous article Labour proposal to allow councils to ban the FOBTs, there is to be a debate tomorrow in the House Of Commons on the Labour Party's plans to give local councils the power to restrict or ban the FOBTs:


Labour to call a vote in Parliament this week to give councils the power to rid communities of Fixed Odds Betting Terminals

MPs will be urged to back proposals to give local people the right to take control of the number of betting shops and FOBTS in their high streets, after a failure by Ministers to act.

Last month (December 2013) Ed Miliband announced that the next Labour Government will pass legislation on the issue. By contrast, the Government has voted against proposals to put betting shops into their own planning-use class.

Clive Efford MP, Labour's Shadow Minister for Sport, commenting ahead of Wednesday's Opposition Day debate, said:

"Across the country, traditional bookies are being turned into mini-casinos, where people can gamble up to £300-a-minute. The next Labour government will give powers to local communities to ban high stakes gambling machines from high streets.

"Over recent months, we've seen the Tories and Lib Dems posturing on fixed odds betting machines, but totally failing to act. This week, Labour is calling a vote in Parliament to give local people the power to pull the plug on these gambling machines. If the Tories and Lib Dems refuse to back Labour's proposals they’ll have to answer why they are standing up for the large betting companies rather than communities across the country



The announcement is laden with characteristically heavy party-political rhetoric, and political capital is no doubt an objective. But any move to restrict these antisocial machines has to be a good one.

The BBC reports thus:


Labour to force vote on curbing bookies' fixed odds machines

Labour is to force a vote in Parliament on its plans to give councils the power to ban high-stakes roulette machines from bookmakers' shops.

Ed Miliband has said so-called fixed odds betting terminals - where punters can bet up to £300 a minute - are "spreading like an epidemic".

He has vowed to amend planning laws in England, Scotland and Wales to curb their growth if Labour regains power.

But ministers said the last government had allowed their proliferation.

(more)



This issue has been uniting all sides of the political divide; the Daily Mail has been crusading against the FOBTs for some time:


Gambling's crack cocaine: betting machines that enslave the poor and earn bookies billions

As I walk into the first betting shop, a few men glance up from their screens — and give me an unmistakably hostile look. The same thing happens at the second.

It’s early morning, but the atmosphere is threatening. Nor is this just my imagination: in both shops, the manager is protected at his counter by a shield of toughened glass.

The moment I start asking questions, however, the manager storms over and tells me to leave the shop.

(more)



The Conservative / Liberal Democrat coalition is apparently awaiting the results of a survey into this before acting - a survey which has been a long time in coming. I expect this opposition motion will fail, but something will probably happen in the following months. Watch this space.



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