A risky business

Posted on March 7, 2014 by admin

BOOKMAKERS are an easy target for politicians seeking a quick win. On March 2nd Maria Miller, the culture secretary, promised tougher regulation of high-stakes gaming machines, which allow betting-shop punters to wager up to £300 ($500) per minute. Her proposed rules, which include forcing customers to set a cap on the amount they will spend each time they start a gaming session, did not much impress many Labour bigwigs, who would prefer to see big-money machines banned. But, racing to dominate an increasingly heated debate, the three main parties have long left the facts behind.

Read the full article in The Economist online.

Bookies caught cold as Government tackles ‘crack cocaine of gambling’

Posted on March 6, 2014 by admin

Fixed-odds betting terminals. Four words that hardly roll off the tongue. No wonder “crack cocaine” gambling machines has caught on to describe the gaming terminals found in betting shops across Britain.

A year ago, most people would never have heard of FoBTs – or “Fobtees” as they are pronounced.

Unless you work in the betting industry or dwell in a bookie any longer that it takes to put a tenner on some no-hoper of a nag at the Grand National, it’s unlikely you would have given the touch-screen gaming terminals anything more than a fleeting glance.

Read the full article in The Telegraph online.

MP warns on bet limit for bookies’ machines

Posted on March 5, 2014 by admin

Dramatically reducing the maximum bet gamblers can place on a single spin of high-stake, casino-style machines would result in a “murky” compromise with the big five bookmakers, a campaigning MP has argued.

Graham Jones has been Labour’s most vocal MP on tackling the ill-effects of high-speed fixed-odds betting terminals, but said he was “not convinced” by the Campaign for Fairer Gambling’s solution of capping stakes at £2.

Currently, punters can lose up to £300 a minute on the machines. He added he was “not quite on the same page” as the campaign, even though he was hosting the Parliamentary launch of the group’s latest research yesterday.

Read the full article in The Independent online.

Labour turned a flutter into a fatal addiction to gambling

Posted on March 4, 2014 by admin

Is there nothing you can’t gamble on? Yesterday, I received an email from one of the country’s top bookmakers offering to refund losing bets on the outcome of the Oscar Pistorius trial should the athlete be acquitted. Leaving aside the tastelessness of the invitation, I have no idea why it was made to me, since I rarely bet. Even buying my one and only National Lottery ticket when it launched 20 years ago left me consumed with Presbyterian guilt. The idea of risking and losing money that I cannot afford to part with is anathema.

But many people have no such hang-ups. Recent figures suggest that about half the adult population has gambled in the past year, and this rises to 70 per cent when the Lottery is included. For most, it is an innocent pastime carried out in moderation. But for some, it is an addiction that wrecks lives.

Read the full article in The Daily Telegraph online.

Bookmakers accused of targeting deprived communities with high stakes gambling machines that helped rake in £13BILLION last year

Posted on March 4, 2014 by admin

British bookmakers and betting shop proprietors have been accused of targeting the most deprived communities with high stakes gambling machines that have helped earn the industry £13 billion.

A parliamentary report reveals that in the 55 most deprived areas of the country, there are a total of 2,691 betting shops, in which £13bn was staked on fixed odds betting terminals (FOBTs), with losses of £470 million.

The figures released by the Campaign for Fairer Gambling reportedly show that bookmakers and betting shops have targeted the most deprived and poorest areas, where there is high unemployment, high crime and low income.

Read the full article in The Daily Mail online.

TV gambling adverts could be banned: Maria Miller pledges changes to ensure ‘children and vulnerable’ are protected

Posted on March 3, 2014 by admin

Gambling adverts could be banned from TV, Maria Miller said yesterday.

The Culture Secretary has asked the Advertising Standards Authority to consider whether it is ‘appropriate’ that so many commercials from the gambling industry are broadcast.

The review could either see limits imposed on gambling adverts – or could even see them outlawed altogether.

Mrs Miller said she was concerned at the ‘seemingly constant’ gambling adverts on television, and pledged changes to ensure ‘children and the vulnerable’ are protected.

Read the full article in The Daily Mail online.

Slot machine cash cap: Bookies let punters set own limits but critics say it just won’t work

Posted on March 3, 2014 by admin

Betting bosses claimed yesterday that they will reduce the harm of gaming machines nicknamed the ‘crack cocaine of gambling’ – by letting customers set their own limits.

Under pressure to act on the games in which punters can lose £300 per minute, the industry launched a scheme to let users decide in advance how much time and money they want to spend.

Campaigners attacked the idea as a ‘smokescreen’, which would have little effect on problem gambling, and could even make it worse.

Read the full article in The Daily Mail online.

Campaign criticises new problem gambling initiatives from betting industry

Posted on February 28, 2014 by admin

The Campaign for Fairer Gambling has hit out at a number of new problem gambling initiatives being touted by the bookmaking industry. Among them is The Association of British Bookmakers (ABB)’s new Code of Conduct, a seemingly knee-jerk reaction now that the industry is under political pressure related to Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs), the roulette machines found in betting shops. Interestingly, neither betting shop managers nor FOBT problem gamblers were consulted to provide input into the code.

Richard Glynn, Ladbrokes CEO, is now tying senior staff bonuses to the prevention of problem gambling, despite the fact that his own bonus is tied to increasing revenues. Following investigations by the Gambling Commission, Ladbrokes was found to be lacking in adequate controls regarding anti-money laundering and social responsibility. However, the Gambling Commission, did not spell out exactly what those failings were and did not impose any sanctions or penalties on the company or the individuals involved. (more…)

Ladbrokes halts shops expansion

Posted on February 17, 2014 by admin

Ladbrokes, the bookmaker under fire for its lacklustre digital business, has halted its betting shop opening programme amid a growing backlash over the number of outlets on the high street.

Having opened around 200 shops in the past two years, bringing its UK estate to more than 2,300, the bookmaker will tell analysts at its full-year results this month it expects to be a “net closer” of shops this year.

Read the full article in The Daily Telegraph online.

Bookmakers told to top up pay by boosting takings from the ‘crack cocaine of gambling’

Posted on February 17, 2014 by admin

Betting shop workers are furious after bosses told them to top up their pay by boosting takings from ­controversial gambling machines.

Bookies Betfred, which has 1,380 shops, is changing the way its managers are paid, ­linking income levels to profits.

They will now earn a basic £7.75 an hour, plus the chance of getting an extra 25p to £1.25 an hour in performance pay – earned from raising takings on ­betting slips and profits from Fixed Odds Betting Terminals.

Read the full article in The Daily Mirror online.