Rise of the machines puts punters at bigger risk, says Simon Perfitt

Posted on December 16, 2013 by admin

On the surface Simon Perfitt had it all. Barely a decade ago the 47-year-old divorcee had moved in with a new girlfriend, drove a Porsche and took lucrative posts in e-commerce where pay deals were sweetened by corporate perks such as free housing.

But Perfitt led a double life. He did not earn money to build a better life but instead used it to feed a gambling addiction to bookmakers’ betting terminals. His cravings saw him lose not only his relationship but left him homeless and facing personal ruin after pouring, he says, £200,000 into the machines.

Fixed odds betting terminals (FOBTs), which offer high-stakes, high-speed casino games such as roulette, were dubbed the “crack cocaine of gambling” almost the day they arrived in Britain. Solitary, uninterrupted machine play, it was claimed, produced a trance-like state, not dissimilar to that experienced by a drug addict.

Simon Perfitt, who lost everything after gambling away £200,000, tells his story in full to the Guardian.

Preston City Council ‘demands’ gambling machine action

Posted on December 13, 2013 by admin

A council is to write to the government to “demand urgent action” for a ban of gambling machines in betting shops.

Preston City Council said the increased use of Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs) is causing “significant problems” in the city.

Councillors also voted unanimously for a motion calling for councils to be able cut the maximum stakes of FOBTs, which include games like roulette.

The Association of British Bookmakers said “we offer products people want”. Read more on BBC News.

Trio of councils vote to crack down on “crack cocaine” roulette machines

Posted on December 12, 2013 by admin

Local authorities across the country last night joined a growing number of councils calling on the Government to restrict Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs), the roulette machines in betting shops on which it is possible to bet up to £100 every 20 seconds.

These high speed, high stake addictive gaming machines have led to the proliferation of betting shops on the high street, as each premises is limited to four. Councils are limited in their potential to control or restrict the number of betting shops, and have demanded more powers to deal with FOBTs, machines that have been described as “the crack cocaine of gambling”. (more…)

Betfred backtracks on plans to force most branches to open late on Christmas Eve

Posted on December 12, 2013 by admin

Bookie Betfred has backtracked on plans to force most branches to open late on Christmas Eve this year.

Insiders say shops had been ordered to open until 9pm, even though there were no big UK sports events on.

Sources say it was so the firm could make money from fixed odds betting machines.

One worker said: “I know of staff with young children who wouldn’t be able to put their children to bed on that of all days.”

Betfred claimed the original plan was for the vast majority of branches to close at 7.30pm on Christmas Eve, as well as Boxing Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.

Read the full story in today’s Mirror.

Betfred staff wages to be linked to fixed-odds terminal profits

Posted on December 12, 2013 by admin

Hundreds of staff at Britain’s biggest independent bookmaker have been told weeks before Christmas that their pay is being cut by hundreds of pounds a month and that future wages will be linked to the profits of high-speed, high-stakes betting terminals.

In a move condemned by campaigners as Scrooge-like behaviour, Betfred, which has almost 1,400 betting shops in the nation’s high streets, proposes grading the performance of staff with a “higher weighting” given to the profits their shops make from fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs) – machines that critics say lead to crime and the regulator warns present a “high inherent money-laundering risk”.

Read more in the Guardian.

Betfred tells its betting shop managers their salaries will be linked to slot machine takings

Posted on December 12, 2013 by admin

Betting shop managers are being told their wages are to be directly linked to how much cash punters pour in to a new generation of high stakes gaming machines branded a ‘social cancer’.

A leaked memo reveals that staff at one of Britain’s biggest bookmakers have been told ‘higher weighting’ is to be attached to profits from fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs).

Read more in Mail Online.

I managed to blow £500 in less than an hour on the ‘crack cocaine of gambling’

Posted on December 9, 2013 by admin

There’s something magical about proper roulette – choosing your favourite numbers, placing your chips on the green baize.

Then an expectant hush followed by the croupier’s spin and the whiz and ­clatter of the ball as it settles.

But I found there was no magic in playing the game on a controversial casino-style machine at a bookies – especially as I blew £500 in just 48 minutes.

The Sunday People is campaigning for tough regulations to control fixed odds betting terminals, on which punters can lose up to £100 in 20 seconds. So I decided to try one for myself.

Read more in the Mirror here.

Punters gamble £2 in betting shop gaming machines for every £3 going into the NHS

Posted on December 9, 2013 by admin

Punters are gambling £2 in betting shop gaming machines for every £3 going into their local NHS .

Former Cabinet minister John Denham is furious that £200million went into the Fixed Odds Betting Terminals in his Southampton Labour constituency last year.

Spending on doctors and hospitals is £280million. Mr Denham said: “Nobody begrudges people a bit of fun, but the Government needs to act urgently.

Read the full story in the Mirror here.

Time to ban FOBTs and deliver fairer gambling

Posted on December 9, 2013 by admin

Fixed Odds Betting Terminals a.k.a. ‘FOBTs’, have long since been known as the “crack cocaine” of the high street. The campaign to have these machines either severely regulated or banned alltogether has recently been gaining pace. The Daily Mail ran an article this week stating that Gamblers wagered a staggering £46billion on betting terminals last year – nearly 50 per cent up in four years. This is a worrying increase.

Read the full blog post from Malcolm Clarke, Chairman of the North West Durham Labour Party, here.

Britons gamble £46 billion on betting machines

Posted on December 6, 2013 by admin

Britons gambled £46 billion on betting terminals last year, an increase of almost 50 per cent in the last four years.

Gamblers lose up to £100 every 20 seconds on the fixed odds machines, campaigners say, and they have been dubbed the “crack cocaine” of the high street.

Almost 600,000 under 18s were stopped in or trying to enter betting shops last year, six times as many as 2009, figures from the Gambling Commission show.

Read the full article in the Telegraph.