Lax policing of the Gambling Act 2005 is undermining its purpose, according to the Campaign for Fairer Gambling.
With the UK Gambling Commission’s (UKGC) chairman Philip Graf, claiming that it is not its duty to police the Gambling Act, legislation is fast becoming worryingly difficult to enforce and monitor.
Recently the Department of Culture Media and Sport issued a report on the hearing into the 2005 Gambling Act, recommending a shift towards more Local Authority (LA) licensing responsibility
But bookmakers across the country are already breaching their betting licenses thanks to an over-dependence on fixed odds betting terminals (FOBTs), rather than traditional over the counter betting on sports such as horse racing or football.
FOBTs win nearly £1.4 billion per year from gamblers – which is around £0.5 billion more than the total UK casino table and machine win according to UKGC statistics.
According to bookmakers’ annual reports, the turnover in betting shops is now split at around 80 per cent on machines and around 20 per cent on over-the-counter betting, dramatically changing their primary purpose.
Derek Webb, founder of the Campaign for Fairer Gambling, said: “There is no use spending public money to create a Gambling Act if nobody is willing to step up to the plate and enforce it. Many bookmakers throughout the country are in blatant breach of their licenses, but nothing is being done at this time.
“These machines are the root of many issues such as addiction, problem gambling and anti-social behaviour, all of which cause infinite problems for our high streets and local communities. LAs should enact their gambling licensing responsibilities by ensuring they prioritise action against the betting shops whose primary activity is these destructive FOBTs.”
The Campaign for Fairer Gambling has written to the UKGC Chair, Philip Graf and all the licensing authorities in the UK to seek clarity and responsibility on this issue.