A move to cut the maximum stake on fruit machines from £100 to £2 in Ipswich has been welcomed by gambling addiction services – although some fear it is “not the best way of helping addicts”.
In a recently published report outlining the proposed change, Ipswich Borough Council state the proposed change is in line with their vision of: “Making the town a safe environment for people to enjoy their leisure time.”
Dan Somers, a representative from Suffolk-based men’s mental health organisation MANUP? said: “People with depression often want a fix, a way of switching off, that is why gambling is so dangerous if it isn’t moderated.”
He added: “People have been on furlough and without question they are bored, sometimes they are kicked out of the house with nothing to do.”
Mr Somers does have concerns that a £2 cap per stake is not the best way of helping gambling addicts in Ipswich.
He said: “I presume the cap will be per venue which won’t really make a difference as an adult will travel for a fix.
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“I am aware that most venues will know what to look out for it someone is overspending, they sometimes start a conversation to slow customers down and get them off the high – but this might not happen if someone is moving between venues.”
Nuno Albuquerque, head of treatment at the UK Addiction Treatment Group, which treats hundreds of people each year for gambling addiction said: ” We salute Ipswich Borough Council for taking proactive action in changing the legislation to ensure fixed-odds betting terminals maximum is reduced from a staggering £100 per spin to £2.
“These machines take advantage of incredibly vulnerable people and to be able to gamble £100 with one press of a button is ludicrous – the change will certainly help a prolific gambler in both the short and long term.
“We hope other councils across the region and indeed the country follow in Ipswich Borough Council’s steps.”
He has previously spoken about online gambling addiction during the coronavirus pandemic.
You can find out more about MANUP? and the work they are doing in Suffolk here.