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Colchester Council backs calls on Chancellor to limit addictive betting machines

Colchester Council has joined a chorus of local authorities calling on Chancellor Philip Hammond to deliver on the Government’s promise to limit the use of Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs). 

An open letter co-signed by Cllr Mark Cory, the leader of Colchester Borough Council, calls on the Chancellor to reduce the maximum stakes on the betting machines to £2 when he delivers his autumn Budget today (Monday).

The petition, which has cross-party support on the council, is backed by 27 other local authority leaders across the country, including the Mayor of Newham Council who drafted the letter.   

The letter urges the £2 stake limit to be implemented as a priority in the Autumn Budget after media reports suggested the Government could delay the move until 2020. 

The Campaign for Fairer Gambling says over £1.6 million is lost to FOBTs each year, with players allowed to bet up to £100 every 20 seconds on the machines. 

The Institute of Public Policy Research has shown that problem gambling costs the country as much as £1.16 billion a year in health, welfare and employment, housing and criminal justice costs. 

Cllr Mark Cory said: “I am pleased to put my name to this important campaign. Problem gambling can affect anyone, at any time, but we know it is often more prevalent among the young and those with lower incomes and therefore more likely to impact some of the most vulnerable people in our society. 

“I hope the Chancellor will listen to our concerns, put the well-being of individuals and communities ahead of betting industry profits, and hasten restrictions on this highly addictive form of gambling in his Budget.” 

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