Ladbrokes and William Hill shares plummet as a cross-party group of MPs criticise addictive gambling machines

Courtney Goldsmith
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Fixed-odds betting terminals have been described as the
FOBTs have been described as the "crack cocaine of gambling" (Source: Getty)

Betting companies' shares have fallen after a group of cross-party MPs released a report criticising fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs).

Ladbrokes shares toppled to a low of 112.02p in early morning trading before rising slightly to 119p, 6.37 per cent down. The drop follows a sharp increase of more than nine per cent yesterday afternoon.

William Hill fell to a low of 283.6p this morning and was still down 7.48 per cent at 288.2p this afternoon.

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The government just completed a call for evidence of the controversial gaming machines, which have been called the "crack cocaine of gambling".

To combat the addictive machines, the all-party parliamentary group called for a reduction in the maximum stake that can be wagered from £100 all the way down to £2.

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Additionally, the number of FOBTs allowed in each bookmaker should be reduced down from four, and the group said local authorities should be given the power to prevent shops from "clustering" to avoid this rule.

Carolyn Harris, chair of the group and Labour MP said the report was supported by members of parliament from all political parties and in the both houses.

The government has a duty to protect the most vulnerable in our society and to act in the public interest. We therefore strongly urge them to properly regulate FOBTs and to do so with immediate effect.

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The group's interim findings were submitted to the department for culture media and sport, and a full report will be published by the group in January.

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