Fixed Odds Betting Terminals

Campaign view: “A missed opportunity on FOBTs”

Posted on April 30, 2014 by admin

The Campaign for Fairer Gambling believes the Government has missed its biggest opportunity to date to make a real impact on tackling fixed odds betting terminals (FOBTs) – the high-speed, high-stake gaming machines in bookmakers throughout Britain.

Despite mounting evidence of problem gambling and the negative socio and economic impact associated with FOBTs, the Government has this week stopped short of implementing a stake reduction on the addictive roulette machines, which allow gamblers to gamble £100 every 20 seconds. It will now wait until October to announce any further developments. (more…)

Gambling Protections and Controls Published by DCMS

Posted on April 30, 2014 by admin

Today, the Department of Culture Media and Sport released a policy update on Gambling Protections and Controls, which included a change in planning measures and an attempt to improve FOBT player protection measures.

Read the policy update on Gambling Protections and Controls in full by clicking here.

£300-a-minute gaming machines face curbs

Posted on April 29, 2014 by admin

Measures designed to clamp down on the rise of high-stakes gambling machines are to be unveiled this week, it has emerged.

Restrictions on the maximum amount that can be wagered on fixed-odds betting machines, dubbed the crack cocaine of gambling”, will be considered as part of delayed Government plans to alleviate growing concern about them.

Councils will also be given stronger powers to veto the spread of bookmakers following fears that “clusters” of gambling outlets are forming in Britain’s poorest neighbourhoods. Local authorities will be handed the right to stop bookies opening up new outlets in premises previously used by a different kind of business.

Read the full article in The Times online.

Guardian investigates the ‘crack cocaine of gambling’

Posted on April 7, 2014 by admin

While the craze FOBTs has bolstered big business, there is increasing concern over the social cost of the machines. The industry says there is no evidence for critics’ claims but just what is the price in terms of crime, violence and addiction of filling high streets with casino games? Randeep Ramesh of the Guardian investigates.


The social toll of highly addictive gambling machines

Posted on April 1, 2014 by admin

In the budget, George Osborne reduced the tax burden on land based bingo halls and raised it for betting shop fixed odds betting terminals (FOBTs). Two gambling sectors treated very differently. The basis of this tax hike on FOBTs, as Osborne put it, was to “bring their profitability more in line with other gaming machines on the high street.”

The chancellor has underestimated the disparity between FOBTs and other gaming machines. It is far bigger than a 5% tax adjustment can address. In 2013 FOBTs – or “B2” gaming machines as they are categorised – generated more than £1.5bn of gross revenue for the betting sector. This represents 51% of its entire profits, more than the sector made from its core business of racing and sports betting.

Read the full article in The Guardian online.

Warning as bookies target ‘towns like EK’

Posted on March 28, 2014 by admin

Gamblers in East Kilbride wagered nearly £17million on controversial betting machines last year.

Shocking figures from the Campaign for Fairer Gambling revealed in the East Kilbride, Strathaven and Lesmahagow constituency, 81 fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs) in 22 betting shops made more than £3.2million from the pockets of locals – with gambling activity topping a staggering £91m.

The highly contentious roulette and casino gaming machines, which can take bets of up to £100 every 20 seconds, are being blamed for leading to more cases of problem gambling.

Read the full article in The Daily Record online.

Increased FOBT tax looks sure to keep Treasury on side with bookmakers

Posted on March 25, 2014 by admin

If there is one sensation that every punter hates, it is the nagging suspicion of having missed something. It is the one you get when the horse you backed at 6-4 steadily drifts to 5-2 before finishing third. Did it simply run as well as it could or did the market know something you did not?

I had that feeling twice in a couple of hours after the chancellor’s budget on Wednesday.

It happened first when George Osborne announced an increase in the duty paid on profits from fixed-odds betting terminals in betting shops, from 20% to 25%, and the markets reacted by taking 11% off the price of Ladbrokes shares and 5% off William Hill.

Read the full article in The Guardian online.

Blow for bookmakers: Osborne hikes levy on FOBTs from 20% to 25%

Posted on March 20, 2014 by admin

Betting machines dubbed the ‘crack cocaine’ of gambling will be taxed more heavily – but campaigners and the industry say the duty rise will not help problem gambling.

In a blow for bookmakers, whose shares fell yesterday, George Osborne said Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs) were ‘highly lucrative’ and he was hiking the levy on them from 20 per cent to 25 per cent.

Read the full article in the Mail online

Reaction to 25% FOBT tax rate in 2014 Budget

Posted on March 19, 2014 by admin

The Campaign for Fairer Gambling has revealed that a 25% tax rate on FOBTs may well wipe £78 million off the bookmakers’ profits – but does little to protect those affected by problem gambling.

Adrian Parkinson, Consultant for the Campaign for Fairer Gambling, said: “This increase in Gross Profits Tax (GPT) on FOBTs to 25% may well aid the treasury, but does little to deal with the many issues created by these machines as problem gambling research, education and treatment will not see any of this revenue.

“It will be suggested that this move will slow down the proliferation of betting shops on high streets, but the addictive nature of FOBTs means the bookmakers will still be raking in huge sums. The government should be looking at dealing with the root of the problem – the high stakes and high intensity play of FOBTs, rather than tax the losses of those addicted to them.

“We may also see a rise in the aggressive marketing of these products from the bookmakers, who will now be desperately trying to attract even more customers. This increase in tax will not be passed on to the FOBT gambler, so is unlikely to act as a deterrent in any way.

“The government should be focussing instead on the social and economic cost of problem gambling, which far outweighs the revenue generated by FOBTs, even at 25%. But with only one NHS problem gambling clinic in the UK, this seems a long way off.”

UK Banking System Gambles With Brits’ Livelihood

Posted on March 19, 2014 by admin

Coinciding with an unforgettable week of racing at Cheltenham, Britain’s gambling industry has had some rather less sunny headlines. Recent figures from the Campaign for Fairer Gambling revealed that, across the 55 most deprived boroughs in the country, more than £1.3bn was gambled on fixed-odds betting terminals last year, £470m of which was lost. It is up to consumers whether they gamble or not, but many who cannot afford it are being encouraged to throw away their money on the outcome of a random chance. Sadly, this is the escalator down to the nightmare cycle of debt, high APRs and roll-over deals.

Read the full article in The Huffington Post online.