U.K. GOVERNMENT PREVAILS IN F.O.B.T. VOTE
08th January, 2014 at 15:27:36
No action until research report has been submitted and studied.
The Labour push for immediate action on Fixed Odds Betting Terminals in the House of Commons Wednesday afternoon (see previous report) has ended in a victory of sorts for the government, with MPs voting to hold off on action until the results of a review already commissioned by the government are published and have been studied.
However, the government did pledge to impose more safeguards on the high speed betting machines once the results of the study are known.
On Labour's proposal that local councils be given the power to limit the number of FOBTs, the government won on a 314 to 232 vote.
The Opposition had earlier claimed that more immediate action could be taken by reclassifying betting shops in such a way as to allow local councils to use planning laws to halt their proliferation.
During the debate, Labour claimed that although FOBT installations are limited to just four per betting shop under current laws, bookmakers are getting around the limitation by opening more betting shops.
Helen Grant, the minister responsible for gambling matters, insisted that the government's approach of waiting for the results of its survey was the right way to go.
"We believe in doing things properly," she said. "We're waiting for the research, we have put pressure on the industry to produce the data.
"We've got reports coming out imminently, there's going to be precautionary protections voluntarily placed by the industry at the end of March and then we will do whatever is needed to make sure people are protected."
Observers noted that some Tories voted with Labour MPs on the emotive issue, and it appears that a number of Lib Dem members abstained.
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