29 November 2015
Number 10 blocks much-needed review on FOBTs
News emerged this month that David Cameron had blocked a review of addictive fixed odds betting terminals (FOBTs).
The story broke in the Times (£) – and made reference to fellow Tory Boris Johnson and his public concerns around the £100 a spin machines. It revealed that the The Department for Culture, Media and Sport had proposed a review of the machines, which made £1.6bn for thebookies in the year to September 2014, a £45m rise on the previous 12 months.
However, the proposal was blocked by the Cabinet Office, in a move that Tory MPs say was sanctioned by Number 10.
Charles Walker, vice-chairman of the 1922 committee of backbench MPs, said the decision flew in the face of mounting concerns among fellow Conservatives. “There are a growing number of colleagues on our benches who are concerned about FOBTs,” Walker said.
“I would have very much welcomed a review. I don’t like the idea of them, I don’t like the way they operate and I don’t like the way that the betting industry tries to defend them.
“We all know what they are — they are a way of extracting vast sums of money from people who can mostly ill- afford to lose it.”