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The story of the man behind Stop the FOBTs & Campaign for Fairer Gambling

Posted on September 6, 2013 by admin

By Derek Webb, Founder of the Campaign for Fairer Gambling

My partner Hannah O’Donnell and I founded and fund both the Campaign for Fairer Gambling and the Stop the FOBTs Campaign. Our Stop the FOBTs campaign is focuses on our recommendation to reduce the maximum stakes on roulette machines in betting shops – known as B2s or Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs) – from £100 maximum to £2 per spin, in line with all other British gaming machines. The Campaign for Fairer Gambling has a wider remit and also takes positions on broader gambling issues.

Experts in player behavior

My understanding of gambling behavior comes from my many years as one of the most successful poker players of my time and as the inventor of the leading proprietary casino table game, Three Card Poker™, and the leading casino table side bet game, 21+3® blackjack.

I was always a competent poker player, doing particularly well from the late 1970s to the mid-1990s. I was responsible for organising what was once the only casino card room game of Texas Hold’Em in the UK and also for introducing Omaha into the UK.

In 1994, I created a new table game for British casinos which became Three Card Poker™, also known as Casino Brag™. I complied with the written requests of the regulated industry by proving the viability of the game in the US, although it did not get introduced to Britain until 2002.

We took an interest in gambling regulation and observed how inadequate internet gambling regulation was. We conducted an independent survey of attitudes to internet gambling, placed an advertisement in the Wall Street Journal on the subject of US internet gambling regulation and submitted a consultation in the proposed licensing conditions and codes of practice prior to the 2005 UK Gambling Act.

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Debate in Whitechapel set to focus on impact of betting shops

Posted on September 2, 2013 by admin

The impact of betting shops on communities will be up for discussion at a public debate due to be held next month.

The Central London Debating Club is to stage its first meeting in the East End, bringing together an expert panel to discuss one of the issues of the moment.

Organisers hope the event, to be held in Whitechapel, will give campaigners the opportunity to challenge those who support the rights of betting shops head on.

Tony Koutsoumbos, who chairs the society, said: “Campaigners say that betting shops foster gambling addictions and pose a real harm to the community, while the industry insists that people are responsible for their own actions and betting shops are simply providing a service and creating jobs in the process.

Read the full article on The Docklands & East London Advertiser online.

Dominic Lawson: My red card for the betting firms that put the boot into the poor

Posted on September 2, 2013 by admin

Here’s another suitable member for Gamblers Anonymous — even though his addiction has now been revealed to the whole country. Last week The Sun reported that the chief executive of the Professional Footballers’ Association, Gordon Taylor, had staked “£4m on more than 2,000 bets in just 30 months”. Taylor is being pursued for gambling debts by one of the many firms he used, which probably explains why the news of his very private vice found its way into the papers.

Read the full article in The Sunday Times here.

BBC5 Live: Matt Zarb-Cousin discusses FOBTs

Posted on August 28, 2013 by admin

Listen to Matt Zarb-Cousin discuss the social impact of FOBTs on BBC5 Live Drive from 1.21.45 here. 

Maria Miller set to freeze stakes on fixed odds machines

Posted on August 23, 2013 by admin

Gamblers playing roulette machines in betting shops will continue to be allowed to bet up to £100 a spin, the BBC understands.

Culture Secretary Maria Miller is due to announce the outcome of a review of gaming machine stakes and prizes.

But she is expected to resist calls to drastically reduce stakes on so-called Fixed-Odds Betting Terminals (FOBT).

Read the full article on BBC News online.

Newsnight: Derek Webb debates the impact of FOBTs

Posted on August 16, 2013 by admin

Watch Derek Webb, founder of the Campaign for Fairer Gambling and Stop the FOBTs, discuss the ‘crack cocaine of gambling’ with Newsnight host Emily Maitlis and ABB Chief Executive Dirk Vennix online.

‘Clampdown on FOBTs’ nothing but political spin says Campaign for Fairer Gambling

Posted on August 14, 2013 by admin

The Campaign for Fairer Gambling has responded to misleading claims from the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) following an article published in the Daily Mail, which claimed the Government were “clamping down on FOBTs”.

The article referred to the roulette machines in betting shops known as Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs), which are being reviewed in the Triennial Review of Stakes and Prizes by the DCMS. The Campaign for Fairer Gambling and its Stop the FOBTs Campaign has been presenting the case for a stake reduction from a £100 maximum to £2 per spin for some time, which would bring them into line with all other UK gaming machines.

At no point has the Campaign argued for a prize reduction from the current £500 maximum, nor has it taken issue with the existing B3 games which are already capped at £2 per spin, as these games do not have a significant impact on levels of problem gambling. Without a reduction in stake on the high speed, high stake B2 casino content, there will not be any clampdown on FOBTs.

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Central Leeds named gambling capital of Yorkshire

Posted on August 13, 2013 by admin

The supercasino hasn’t even been built yet, but machine-happy leeds is already a gambling capital. Aisha Iqbal reports.

New research on betting shop ‘roulette’ machines or Fixed Odd Betting Terminals (FOBTs) claims that more than £3.1 billion was gambled on the controversial machines across the Yorkshire region in just one year.

The Leeds Central constituency tops the Yorkshire region, with an estimated £143 million gambled, according to research by the Campaign for Fairer Gambling

Campaigners say that with over 771 betting shops and 2,819 roulette machines, Yorkshire is estimated to have contributed £106 million to the betting industry’s £1.5 billion profits from the machines.

Read the full article on the Yorkshire Evening Post online.

Anger over Government ‘failure’ to tackle addictive gaming machines

Posted on August 13, 2013 by admin

Addiction experts have branded them “the crack-cocaine of gambling”.

Fixed Odds Betting Terminals invite gamblers to bet up to £100 every 20 seconds.

Medway Council says strict restrictions on maximum stakes are urgently needed, but the Government doesn’t agree. John Ryall spoke to former gambling addict Matt Zarb-Cousin and Medway Council Labour Group Leader Vince Maple.

Watch the full video on ITV Meridian News online.

Campaign for Fairer Gambling statement in response to Daily Mail article

Posted on August 13, 2013 by admin

“In response to the Daily Mail article, which reported a “crackdown” on FOBTs, the Campaign for Fairer Gambling is concerned that the Government’s rhetoric is misleading.

In a newsletter earlier this year, the Association of British Bookmakers boasted of their influence in averting a separate review of FOBTs. Instead, the Government decided to include Category B2, which facilitates £100 stakes on FOBTs, in the Triennial Review of Stakes and Prizes – a mechanism traditionally used to increase either or both in line with inflation.

A stake reduction on FOBTs in the Triennial Review was therefore unlikely, but it has allowed the Government to imply that they have “cracked down” on FOBTs by capping the maximum stake at £100 until 2016. The only responsible course of action would have been to reduce the maximum stake to £2, bringing FOBTs in line with all other Category B gaming machines as a matter of precaution and to comply with the licensing objective of prevention of harm to young and vulnerable persons, until it is determined that FOBTs are not addictive, as all available evidence suggests that they are the most addictive form of gambling.”