The Baptist Union, Methodist Church, Church of Scotland and United Reformed Church have responded to the Government’s consultation on gambling machines and related issues. This can be read here.
The Churches, along with other denominations, have called for a significant reduction to the maximum stakes for Fixed Odds Betting Terminals or B2 machines. At the moment it is possible to stake £100 each go on these machines. The Churches said that any reduction must be accompanied by other measures to help people at risk of gambling harms to prevent unintended consequences of a stake reduction. They also called for urgent action to be taken over online gambling where stakes and prizes are unlimited and people can use credit cards.
The Churches also raised concerns about children and gambling. Britain is the only regulated country where children – of any age – are allowed to play on commercial gambling machines. Around 57,000 children are thought to be problem gamblers or at risk of problem gambling. With the growth of social gaming and increasing amounts of gambling advertising, the Churches expressed concerns about the impact on children now and in the future.
The Churches’ representatives recently met with Gambling Minister, Tracey Crouch MP, to express these concerns.
The consultation is now closed and the Government’s response is awaited.