The SNP has warned the UK government against turning their backs on a review into FOBTs which was announced last year – after reports emerged that Chancellor Philip Hammond wants to keep the machines that have been labelled the ‘crack cocaine of gambling’.
The UK government pledged a review into FOBTs last year – a move which was welcomed by the SNP. However, Philip Hammond is reportedly planning to scrap the review due to the amount of money that the Fixed Odds Betting Terminals earn for the Treasury.
FOBTs are linked to gambling addiction, debt and family breakdowns – with gamblers able to bet £100 every 20 seconds whilst using the terminals.
Commenting, SNP MSP Stuart McMillan, who has led the campaign in Holyrood against FOBT’s said:
“The SNP supported this review when it was announced last year – and reports that it is being abandoned because the FOBTs make money for the Treasury are deeply concerning.
“Any money that these terminals earn in no way outweighs the damage that they cause in our communities and to families – there’s a reason they are labelled the ‘crack cocaine’ of gambling.
“Last year, Scottish councils got the power to limit the clustering of betting shops in our communities – and it is imperative that the UK government takes similar action to limit the damage that FOBTs cause.
“The review was a welcome development – but the reported decision to scrap the review in a cost-cutting drive is deeply disappointing.”