Bishop Alan tables Private Member’s Bill
The Bishop of St Albans tabled a Bill in the House of Lords on 18th May which would help local authorities to better protect vulnerable people from the potential harm caused by Fixed Odds Betting Terminals. The Betting Licences (Category B2 Gaming Machines) Bill was entered into the House of Lords’ Private Members ballot. First Reading will be on 13 June, at which point the full Bill will be published.
The Betting Licences (Category B2 Gaming Machines) Bill would strengthen the power of local authorities to refuse licensing permission for Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs), where there was reasonable risk of gambling-related harm to vulnerable people within a local community. By permitting local authorities to set new conditions on the terms of a betting premises licence, the Bill would enable better enforcement of existing licensing objectives.
In the House of Lords the Bishop of St Albans has previously supported a reduction in the maximum stake for FOBTs, and called on the Government to announce the long overdue Triennial Review of Stakes and Prizes.
Speaking about the forthcoming Bill today, the Bishop of St Albans said: “This Private Members Bill is not intended as an attack on the betting industry, but as a way of empowering local authorities to better enforce the existing licensing objectives. The current licensing arrangements are weighted against any local authority that wants to protect vulnerable communities from the threat of harm posed by FOBTs, and the changes proposed in my Bill would help redress some of the imbalance.”