In its announcement on the Triennial Review of gaming machine stakes and prizes today, the DCMS has chosen to take no action against highly addictive Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs) – the roulette machines found in betting shops.
Derek Webb, founder of the Campaign for Fairer Gambling, who runs the Stop the FOBTs Campaign, said: “This is a ridiculous decision. It was a prime opportunity for the Government to exercise the precautionary principle and reduce the stakes on these addictive machines from £100 to £2, bringing them in line with all other British gaming machines.”
“There is mounting empirical and anecdotal evidence that FOBTs are driving the proliferation of betting shops, contributing to problem gambling, causing crime and violence in local communities, impacting on the working conditions of betting shop staff and being used for criminal activities such as money laundering.”
The Campaign submitted a consultation to the Triennial Review in April, presenting significant evidence that FOBTs are in breach of the three licensing objectives set out in the Gambling Act 2005. Since then the Campaign has commissioned a poll of betting shop customers in Newham, identifying that 87% viewed FOBTs as addictive.
The idea that further research, as relied upon by DCMS to delay taking action, will give any more insight is baseless as this research is not dedicated to understanding FOBT problem gambling.
Derek Webb, concluded: “The Gambling Commission, an unelected quango of career administrators, should not be trusted by DCMS. The Gambling Commission, working with the Responsible Gambling Trust and the Responsible Gambling Strategy Board, are all complicit in keeping this highly addictive product on our high streets and protecting the bookmakers’ vested interests.”
Notes to editors:
About the Campaign for Fairer Gambling
It is a campaign striving for fairness in gambling. So, the campaign is centred around the three licensing objectives of the Gambling Act 2005, aimed at:
- preventing gambling from being a source of crime or disorder, being associated with crime or disorder or being used to support crime,
- ensuring that gambling is conducted in a fair and open way, and
- protecting children and other vulnerable persons from being harmed or exploited by gambling.
The Campaign aims to:
- Engage with politicians to toughen legislation
- Gather evidence of unfairness and non-transparency
- Rally support from special interest groups to highlight the negative social and economic impact caused by problem gambling under the current legislation
The Campaign for Fairer Gambling www.fairergambling.org is a not-for-profit entity funded by Derek Webb and Hannah O’Donnell. It launched its “Stop the FOBTs” campaign to highlight the problems associated with Fixed Odds Betting Terminals www.stopthefobts.org.
Rachael van Oudheusden/Lucy Knighton
0115 948 6900