Sharon has criticised the Government’s failures to bring down the maximum allowed stake on Fixed Odds Betting Terminals from £100 to £2.
Sharon and other Labour MPs have campaigned for many years to tighten control on FOBTs gaming machines which have been described as the “crack cocaine of gambling” and have caused huge damages to families and communities across the country.
FOBTs machines allow users to gamble up to £100 every 20 seconds, which can lead to huge losses, wider societal issues and family breakdown. British gambles lost a total of £1.7 billion on FOBTs in 2015, and 11.5% of all FOBTs users are serious gambling addicts.
Following a much delayed review, and sustained pressure from the Labour Party and gambling campaigners, the Government have announced a further consultation on the maximum stake allowed on FOBTs, rather than take firm action to curb addictive machines.
Restrictions on the machines would have a huge positive impact on the local area. Figures compiled for the Campaign for Fairer Gambling estimate that there are 51 FOBTs in Washington and Sunderland West alone, with local residents losing £1,602,254 between 2015-16 and a total of £10,855,045 between 2008 and 2016.
“It is a deeply disappointing move from the Government, who appear unaware to the concerns raised by campaigners and others who have been telling the Government for years that they must do something about these highly addictive machines.
“Families across the country, and here in Washington and Sunderland West, have been devastated by the effects of gambling addiction which is too often accompanied by theft and drug and alcohol abuse.
“Reducing the maximum stake on FOBTs from £100 to £2 will make all our communities safer and better off and it’s now up to the Government to reconsider its approach and take firm action now.”