*** DEBUG START ***
*** DEBUG END ***

Churches welcome Government consultation on fixed-odd betting rules

03 November 2017

PA

THE Church of England has joined other Churches and faith-based organisations in welcoming the Government’s plans for a consultation on tightening the rules that govern gaming machines and related social-responsibility measures.

It specifically urged Ministers to cut the maximum stake for fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs), which can be as high as £100, to just £2 (News, 11 August). The Bishop of St Albans, Dr Alan Smith, said that the Church would press the Government to consider the experiences of those most affected by these machines.

“Any stake higher than £2 does not go far enough to address the harm these machines cause to families and communities. FOBTs are the only betting machines on the high street which take a stake of more than £2. The £100 stake has been a disastrous anomaly.”

In February, the General Synod called on the Government to reduce the maximum stake on the terminals to £2 after members heard of the “huge suffering” caused by the machines (News, 17 February).

In a joint statement, the Salvation Army, the Church of England, the Methodist Church, the United Reformed Church, the Baptist Union, the Church of Scotland, CARE, the Evangelical Alliance, and Quaker Action on Alcohol and Drugs said: “Fixed-odds betting terminals present serious problems in society and for local communities, families, and individuals. Evidence links them to patterns of addictive behaviour, large financial losses, and anti-social and criminal behaviour.

“We stand by the belief that the maximum stake on fixed-odds betting terminals must be radically reduced from the current maximum stake of £100. We believe that this will help to reduce the potentially enormous financial loss that some people experience, and, therefore, the consequences, including debt, depression, and crime.

“We urge the Government to view gambling addiction as a public health issue.

“Evidence shows that problem gambling causes harm to a disproportionate extent in disadvantaged areas and amongst ethnic minorities. There is also evidence of a strong association between problem gambling and online play.”

The statement also voiced concern about the marked growth in gambling advertising, and urged the Government to adopt a 9 p.m. watershed, which would include the promotion of gambling through sports events.

Browse Church and Charity jobs on the Church Times jobsite

Forthcoming Events

Green Church Awards

Awards Ceremony: 6 September 2024

Read more details about the awards

 

Festival of Preaching

15-17 September 2024

The festival moves to Cambridge along with a sparkling selection of expert speakers

tickets available

 

Inspiration: The Influences That Have Shaped My Life

September - November 2024

St Martin in the Fields Autumn Lecture Series 2024

tickets available

 

SAVE THE DATE

Festival of Faith and Literature

28 February - 2 March 2025

The festival programme is soon to be announced sign up to our newsletter to stay informed about all festival news.

Festival website

 

Visit our Events page for upcoming and past events 

Welcome to the Church Times

 

To explore the Church Times website fully, please sign in or subscribe.

Non-subscribers can read four articles for free each month. (You will need to register.)