Bishop urges Christians to make voices heard on Fixed Odds Betting Terminals


A bishop is seeking to mobilise Christians to press the Government to curb Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs) to help protect the most vulnerable people.

The Bishop of St Albans, Dr Alan Smith, is urging members of the Church of England and other churches to add their voices to calls to limit the maximum stake on the addictive machines to £2, instead of its current level of £100.

He is calling for people to respond to the Government’s consultation on its review of gaming machines which is open for the next two months.

As a first step, he has written to all members of the Church of England’s General Synod, encouraging them to respond to the consultation.

The Church of England has also produced a resource to help members of the public have their say in the consultation.

In February 2017, General Synod voted unanimously to support a £2 maximum stake on fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs) and powers for local authorities to control the numbers of these machines on high streets.

In the letter, Bishop Alan notes that although excellent progress has been made in shaping the proposals that the Government has brought, now is a critical time for those concerned about the impact of current gambling regulations to show their support for change.

The Bishop writes that this strong show of support has been crucial to the great progress made so far.

He said: “The presence of FOBTs on high streets and damage they do to individuals, families and communities should concern us all.

“I hope everyone takes the time to make their voices heard in this consultation.

“Large corporate interests will do everything they can to influence the Government’s decision on the maximum stake for FOBTs, so is essential that ordinary people share their local experience of these machines.”


Notes to Editors:

Details of the Synod’s 2017 motion can be found here.

General Synod

The 'Parliament' of the Church of England. The General Synod usually meets twice a year to debate and discuss matters of interest and to consider and approve amendments to Church legislation.