A new YouGov poll, commissioned on behalf of the Campaign for Fairer Gambling, has unearthed the growing public discord towards fixed odds betting terminals (FOBTs) – the roulette machines found in high street betting shops.
News & views
A former gambler told how he considered suicide after blowing £20,000 on fixed odds betting terminals in high-street bookies.
Matt Zarb-Cousin lost £2,500 in one day playing the machines – labelled the ‘crack cocaine’ of gambling – while a student at Birmingham University.
The 24-year-old went on to blow £14,000 in just 18 months – at the height of his addiction splurging his entire £3,000 student loan on the terminals.
‘I began to get more obsessed with the machines but more and more depressed after suffering huge losses,’ he said.
Read the full article in The Metro online.
Research published this week by Goldsmiths University and the Royal College of Psychiatrists has called into question Britain’s provision for research, education and treatment for problem gambling.
Anthropologists from Goldsmiths University invited 143 stakeholders to contribute to the “Fair Game” report, of which 109 agreed to take part in focus groups. These consisted of research stakeholders, including research users such as policy makers, treatment providers and regulators – as well as research producers from academia, the gambling industry and research institutes. Members of the gambling industry were also involved.
The report concluded that the Government plays a role in sustaining the focus on “problem gambling”, which obscures the relationship between the gambling industry and the state. It asserts that the focus on problem gambling and causal relationships serve the interests of the industry, which is interested in limiting regulation and minimising change. (more…)
Rob Flint and Mick McDermott, author of the book ‘Speaking with Forked Tongues’, share their thoughts on corruption within the bookmaking industry, the reliance on FOBTs and why some betting shops are increasingly becoming reluctant to take bets on horse racing.
Campaign for Fairer Gambling response to an “independent” report commissioned by the Association of British Bookmakers that claims deprived areas have the lowest share of betting shops
The Association of British Bookmakers (ABB) has again attempted to mislead the public by commissioning a report carried out by the Local Data Company. The report suggests that betting shops do not target deprived areas, despite the Campaign for Fairer Gambling’s analysis, released last month, showing that – even when controlling for population density – there are more than twice the number of betting shops in the poorest boroughs compared with the most affluent. (more…)
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.
Campaign calls for maximum stake to be cut to £2 per spin on FOBTs as Association of British Bookmakers mislead Government over impact of stake reduction
An independent report carried out by NERA Economic Consulting, published this week by the Campaign for Fairer Gambling, has revealed that the Association of British Bookmakers (ABB) – the betting industry trade body – could have misled the Government over the potential impact a stake reduction on Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs) would have on its shops.
The new report, The Stake of the Nation – Balancing the Bookies: A Review of the Association of British Bookmakers’ Impact Assessment, analyses information submitted by the ABB to the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) during its 2013 Triennial Review of Gambling Machines stakes and prizes. The Government said at the time that the ABB’s submission gave a “clearer understanding” of the economic impact of a stake restriction on FOBTs.
The ABB submission claimed that 7,800 betting shops and 39,000 jobs would be “at-risk” if there was a reduction in FOBT maximum stake from £100 to £2 per spin – bringing them in line with all other high street gaming machines. The NERA report, however, has concluded that these figures were “overstated” and “flawed”. Instead it found that “the likely impact on the betting industry is therefore very substantially smaller than that suggested.” (more…)
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.
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.
Please click below to view the letter the Campaign sent to Minister Helen Grant on March 26, 2014.