A Conservative minister who was in favour of allowing fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs) at motorway service stations and amusement arcades has been put in charge of a landmark review of gambling laws, the Guardian has learned.
Campaigners for gambling reform voiced concern after it emerged that John Whittingdale, the minister for media and data, is taking over responsibility for the review from the sports minister, Nigel Huddleston, nearly three months after it was launched.
They pointed to Whittingdale’s record of voting against stronger regulation of the industry and comments playing down the dangers of FOBTs.
Whittingdale was chair of the culture select committee when it produced a report suggesting that FOBTs should be permitted at venues such as bingo halls and amusement arcades. The 2012 report could also have led to the highly addictive £100-per-spin machines being installed at motorway service stations across the country. The proposals were not adopted by David Cameron’s government.