Gambling campaigners warn government ministers they’ll have ‘blood on their hands’ if they don’t curb high-stakes machines

Posted on December 13, 2016 by admin

Dubbed the crack cocaine of gambling, fixed odds betting terminals can put punters out of pocket by as much as £100 every 20 seconds.

Campaigners have warned that UK Government ministers will have “blood on their hands” unless they curb controversial high-stakes slot machines.

Punters can lose £100 every 20 seconds on fixed odds betting terminals (FOBTs), which have been branded the “crack cocaine of gambling”.

In Scotland, £5billion was staked last year on the casino-style machines in betting shops.

Campaigners have called for a £2 cap on stakes in a bid to help control problem gambling.

The UK Government are carrying out a review of the impact of the machines. And the Campaign for Fairer Gambling have warned of a rise in gamblers taking their lives because of heavy losses.

Read the full story in The Daily Record.

Gambling addiction costs UK more than £100m a year – study

Posted on December 8, 2016 by admin

Gambling addiction costs the UK more than £100m a year in mental health and counselling services, according to a landmark report commissioned by the charity GambleAware.

The IPPR, an independent thinktank, which will publish its findings on Tuesday, told delegates at this week’s GambleAware conference that “secondary” mental health services related to gambling cost between £30m and £110m a year.

The estimate includes programmes such as counselling and addiction treatment for up to 620,000 problem gamblers, but not a range of other costs such as A&E admissions linked to gambling issues.

Read the full story in The Guardian.

Cut betting terminal stake to £2, MPs demand

Posted on December 8, 2016 by admin

A cross-party group of MPs will today demand stricter controls on betting machines that allow punters to lose £300 a minute on casino games.

The fixed odds betting terminals all-party parliamentary group will publish the findings of a six-month inquiry into the machines.

Its report says that there is a “prima facie” case to cut the maximum stake of £100 a spin. It also urges ministers to slow the speed with which punters can make bets from once every 20 seconds. The report is significant because it is supported by MPs from all the main parties, including the senior Conservative backbencher Sir Peter Bottomley.

See the full story in The Times.

450,000 kids gamble every week

Posted on December 7, 2016 by admin

Underage gambling among 11–15 year olds is more prolific than smoking or drinking, a new report warns, but bookies deny there’s a problem.

Parents and guardians are being warned to be vigilant following publication of a new report indicating that 450,000 children are gambling in England and Wales every week.

The latest study by the Gambling Commission reveals that 16 per cent of 11–15 year olds gamble during a typical week, compared with 5 per cent that have smoked, 8 per cent that have drunk alcohol and 6 per cent that have taken drugs.

Read the full story in The Independent.  

Let’s ban addictive betting machines

Posted on December 6, 2016 by admin

Fixed-odds betting terminals simply fleece the poor.

Ever since the gaming acts of Charles II and Queen Anne, restrictions on gambling have exhibited an unappealing combination of paternalism, class prejudice and moral exhortation. Yet there’s a compelling case to legislatively crack down on one such activity now: fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs).These electronic gaming machines were introduced to British betting shops in 1999.
Though legislation in 2005 limited betting shops to a maximum of four terminals, the aggregate numbers of FOBTs have surged. Owing to distinctive characteristics, they are causing havoc and misery. That’s not a strait-laced sermon. It’s an informed view from within the gaming industry.
Read the full story in The Times 

Betting boss: crack cocaine of gambling must be banned

Posted on December 6, 2016 by admin

The founder and former chief executive of Britain’s biggest bookmaker secretly lobbied against betting machines that allow punters to gamble £100 every 20 seconds, describing them as “dangerously addictive”, The Times can reveal.

Stewart Kenny, who co-founded Paddy Power and was on its board until this summer, wrote that fixed-odds terminals (FOBTs) were “the crack cocaine of gambling” and were “particularly enticing to younger gamblers in disadvantaged areas”.

In a submission to the Irish government, which was consulting on whether to legalise the terminals, he warned that the British government was “as addicted to the tax revenue [from the machines] as vulnerable customers are to losing money in them”.

Read the full story in The Times 


Reviewing the Gambling Review – Part Five – Politics

Posted on December 2, 2016 by admin

Derek Webb, Founder of the Campaign for Fairer Gambling, rounds off his review of the DCMS review into gaming machines. (more…)

Groundbreaking report backs lowering FOBT stakes ahead of Triennial Review

Posted on November 23, 2016 by admin

An independent report into the effects of lowering FOBT stakes has, for the first time, created a compelling body of evidence to put before the DCMS, just ahead of the Triennial Review deadline.

A potentially pivotal report has been published in the battle for a level playing field on the high street, examining what effects radically lowering the stakes of FOBTs would have on players.

Read the full story in Coinslot

Reviewing the Gambling Review – Part four – Advertising

Posted on November 23, 2016 by admin

Derek Webb, Campaign for Fairer Gambling founder, continues his analysis of the DCMS review of Gambling Machines and Social Responsibility Measures.


GamblingA fixed odds betting terminal


The old Triennial Review of Gaming Machine Stakes and Prizes  was justified as a tool to address the effect of inflation. This has now been subsumed into the “Review of Gambling Machines and Social Responsibility Measures – Call to Evidence”.

Whilst there was a review of advertising in 2014 this was essentially just an industry, gambling and advertising regulator box-ticking exercise. The Government wanted to ensure that remote operators based offshore paid a point -of-consumption tax (PoC). The tool used to enable this was the Gambling (Licensing and Advertising) Act 2014. This required sites advertising in the UK to be licensed by the UK Gambling Commission, even if they were based in Gibraltar for example.

Even though the PoC has now been implemented, the bookmakers are still objecting with the Gibraltar Betting and Gaming Association calling for its members to be exempt from the tax. They are even going through  the Courts to try and overturn the UK Government’s decision. The bookmaker CEOs don’t want to pay tax where they make their profits. They want to profit from gambling harm, pay no tax, but still manage to keep a straight face when they claim to be socially responsible.

Research has shown that one in five CEOs is a psychopath, higher than in the prison population. It is more likely that these people, lacking in empathy for others, are attracted to sectors that engage in immoral and unethical behavior.

Remote gambling sites are unable to find enough new vulnerable victims through remote marketing and so resort to excessive and often unethical TV marketing. Originally affiliates were the major director of traffic to sites. These affiliates got a share of the revenue for introducing losing punters, even though the punter was not informed of that relationship.

Affiliates will recommend remote gambling operators based on the depth of the commercial relationship between them and the site. One of the 2005 Gambling Act licensing objectives is that gambling should be “fair and open”. Affiliate relationships are a serious blemish on that objective.

Bingo got a pre-watershed pass as it was perceived as soft gambling, based on the traditional perception of bricks-and-mortar bingo. However, bingo sites also have casino sites just a click away. So, daytime bingo advertising is used to drive sales in selected casino sites, to the disadvantage of casino sites that do not have an associated bingo site.

Football betting advertising also gets a pass when live football is broadcast pre-watershed. This has the added impact of encouraging gamblers who do not have access to remote accounts to go to betting shops instead and as a result, the new young football bettors are spotted by shop staff and steered towards FOBTs. “Would you like me to show you how to play?” Credits, bonus and tournaments are also all extra tools to get FOBTs sold to novice gamblers, all enabled through football betting advertising on TV.

Remember that these offshore sites have got away with using their tax advantage to market their land based betting shop gambling.

The other main sport for TV advertising is horseracing. Why should the sport of kings be subsidised by losing gamblers though? TV racing broadcasts already include the odds for races and the inane comments of the bookies’ cheerleaders. That alone is all bad enough, particularly when gamblers who are capable of winning are getting their accounts closed and/or bets restricted.

Commercial TV companies, who are always lobbying against the BBC, will be upset with any restrictions on TV advertising. However, DCMS should be more concerned with protecting the BBC than protecting the commercial interest of those who benefit from marketing addictive and potentially harmful gambling.

The 2005 Gambling Act swung the pendulum too far in favour of gambling operators. The backlash against this has been slow to build, but it is now one that Theresa May and her Government know they can no longer ignore.

Read more  – https://www.politicshome.com/news/uk/culture/opinion/campaign-fairer-gambling/81050/reviewing-gambling-review-part-four

The slot machines that changed bingo

Posted on November 18, 2016 by admin

The number of higher-stake slot machines found in bingo halls has tripled during the past five years. But what happens when some players lose life-changing amounts?

For most people, bingo halls still make them think of “legs 11” – a caller rattling off numbers as elderly players frantically scour their cards.

But walk into most major bingo halls today and first you will have to navigate the flashing lights and high-pitched bleeps of gaming machines – and, probably, plenty of them.

Read the full story on BBC Online