The Guardian ran a story this weekend based on analysis undertaken by the Campaign for Fairer Gambling and research carried out by Geofutures on FOBTs and how much is being gambled in local communities – which has attracted further media attention in the Daily Mail, Daily Telegraph, Financial Times, local and regional press as well as BBC local radio and TV.
To find the stats for your area download the spreadsheet here and click on the arrow in column E to search for your MP.
Comment from Adrian Parkinson, Campaign for Fairer Gambling Consultant:
“Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs) are touch-screen roulette and casino gaming machines in betting shops, on which it is possible to stake up to £100 every 20 seconds. The high stakes and speed of play have led to the machines being called “the crack cocaine of gambling”, and the Gambling Act 2005 limits each betting shop to four FOBTs – so bookies leapfrog regulations by opening up as many shops as possible, which is why we get clustering, especially in poorer areas as our research has shown. In 2007, a Scoping Study into the Gambling Act recommended FOBTs be “closely monitored” because of international research that suggested they had features that could create more problem gamblers. However, no such monitoring has taken place, and the government is due to respond to a Select Committee report next week calling for the cap of four FOBTs per shop to be lifted as an “anti-clustering measure”.
“We believe the only way to stop machine-driven proliferation of betting shops is to make the machines less profitable. So we recommend reducing to maximum stake from £100 down to £2, increasing the time between plays, and removing table game content – all of these recommendations would bring B2 machines in line with other Category B machines.”
For more information contact:
Matt Zarb-Cousin, Campaign Consultant on email@example.com
Adrian Parkinson, Campaign Consultant on Adrian@fairergambling.org