MP Bob Seely is urging the Government to cut stakes on fixed odds betting terminals (FOBTs) after it was discovered Island gamblers lost nearly £3 million on them in 2016.
There are 55 FOBTs, nicknamed the ‘crack cocaine of gambling’, on the Island in 26 locations and it is estimated £63 million was gambled and £2.9 million was lost last year. The cumulative amount lost on the Isle of Wight from 2008 to 2016 is estimated at £19.9 million.
Presently, the maximum stake is £100, which can be spent in just 20 seconds. Bob wants this to be cut to £2.
The Government is due to report on what it wants to do next month following a review of the electronic gaming machines.
“FOBTs are causing addiction and misery and the sums bet on these machines, just on the Island, are quite frankly staggering and an enormous cause for concern,” said Bob.
“I’m pleased the Government is reviewing their use and I very much hope it will cut the stakes drastically,” said Bob.
“There is plenty of evidence that the many tens of thousands of these terminals across the country are doing significant harm. This is unacceptable. The betting industry needs to be better regulated on the use of these machines which have driven vast profits for them over the last decade.
“I do understand that the industry contributes to the economy and employs many people, but I feel it has not done enough to stop problem gambling. Government needs to intervene.”