Response to Call for Evidence on Fixed Odds Betting Terminals

The Highland Council has agreed its response to the call for evidence on the UK and Scottish Governments’ proposals on the devolution of powers relating to Fixed-Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs).

The Council response reflects the response by The Highland Licensing Board (11 August) which unanimously endorsed proposals for the Scottish Government to be given powers to regulate fixed odds betting machines which are currently controlled by the UK Government.

In the response the Council makes it clear that it would like to see clause 45 apply, not just to new betting premises licences, but also existing ones. This would allow for the reduction in the number of FOBTs already operating, particularly in Inverness, where three betting premises are within 200m of each other and between them they currently operate 12 FOBTs.

The response also recommends amendments to be made to the Gambling Act 2005 to enable Licensing Boards to refuse an application for a betting premises licence in their area if they consider that there is an over provision. Local authorities currently have powers to restrict numbers of other types of licensed premises in particular localities on the grounds of over provision, but has no power to do so in respect of betting premises.

Chair of Community Services Committee, Councillor Allan Henderson said: “People can literally lose a fortune in seconds. These machines are a supertax on poverty and they have accelerated in growth unannounced. It is really important that the Council do follow up on acting on this.”

4 Sep 2015
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