Fairer Gambling campaign says bookmakers made £1.4bn in a year from high-speed, high-stakes machines.
For a man whose fortune was made in poker games and casinos, Derek Webb admits he was a late starter when it came to developing a conscience about the social cost of gambling. A multimillionaire from Derby, who now lives mostly in an apartment in a Las Vegas luxury hotel, the 60-year-old made a living for 25 years exploiting weaker players across the green baize of a poker table.
But for the past five years Webb has poured cash into a low-level war with Britain’s bookmakers, whom he accuses of subverting legislation to flood high streets with high-speed, high-stakes gambling machines. These fixed odds betting terminals (FOBTs), Webb says, have seen £40bn staked in the country’s betting shops in the year to March 2012.
Read Randeep Ramesh’s full interview with Derek Webb in the Guardian online.