Good news! Well maybe, let’s wait and see what the actual outcome is. But we do welcome the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) putting out a general call for evidence about the FOBTS – the Fixed Odds Betting Terminals in betting shops which have attracted numerous critical comments on the Gambling Watch UK website and elsewhere – and about gambling advertising. Officially DCMS is reviewing the sizes of stakes and prizes for all gambling machines (or ‘gaming machines’ as they prefer to call them), the allocation of machines in all licensed premises, and harm minimisation social responsibility measures as a whole. But we all know the focus will be on the FOBTs and advertising, especially advertising on TV before the 9 pm ‘watershed’.
We already have loads of your comments to draw on regarding both issues. But this is an important opportunity to make your views known and potentially to change policy. I shall be giving written evidence to DCMS myself. What would you like me to say? You can tell me simply by writing a comment in response to this posting. Or of course you can give evidence directly to DCMS, either by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or in writing to:
Call for Evidence on Gaming Machines, Gambling, Licensing and Lotteries Team, DCMS, 4th Floor, 100 Parliament Street, London SW1A 2BQ.
The call for evidence was announced on 24th October and will run for six weeks only, closing on 4th December. After that the Government will consider proposals. This is likely to be the best opportunity in this parliament, and perhaps for much longer still, to get a change in policy.