News & views

450,000 kids gamble every week

Posted on December 7, 2016 by admin

Underage gambling among 11–15 year olds is more prolific than smoking or drinking, a new report warns, but bookies deny there’s a problem.

Parents and guardians are being warned to be vigilant following publication of a new report indicating that 450,000 children are gambling in England and Wales every week.

The latest study by the Gambling Commission reveals that 16 per cent of 11–15 year olds gamble during a typical week, compared with 5 per cent that have smoked, 8 per cent that have drunk alcohol and 6 per cent that have taken drugs.

Read the full story in The Independent.  

Let’s ban addictive betting machines

Posted on December 6, 2016 by admin

Fixed-odds betting terminals simply fleece the poor.

Ever since the gaming acts of Charles II and Queen Anne, restrictions on gambling have exhibited an unappealing combination of paternalism, class prejudice and moral exhortation. Yet there’s a compelling case to legislatively crack down on one such activity now: fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs).These electronic gaming machines were introduced to British betting shops in 1999.
Though legislation in 2005 limited betting shops to a maximum of four terminals, the aggregate numbers of FOBTs have surged. Owing to distinctive characteristics, they are causing havoc and misery. That’s not a strait-laced sermon. It’s an informed view from within the gaming industry.
Read the full story in The Times 

Betting boss: crack cocaine of gambling must be banned

Posted on December 6, 2016 by admin

The founder and former chief executive of Britain’s biggest bookmaker secretly lobbied against betting machines that allow punters to gamble £100 every 20 seconds, describing them as “dangerously addictive”, The Times can reveal.

Stewart Kenny, who co-founded Paddy Power and was on its board until this summer, wrote that fixed-odds terminals (FOBTs) were “the crack cocaine of gambling” and were “particularly enticing to younger gamblers in disadvantaged areas”.

In a submission to the Irish government, which was consulting on whether to legalise the terminals, he warned that the British government was “as addicted to the tax revenue [from the machines] as vulnerable customers are to losing money in them”.

Read the full story in The Times 


Reviewing the Gambling Review – Part Five – Politics

Posted on December 2, 2016 by admin

Derek Webb, Founder of the Campaign for Fairer Gambling, rounds off his review of the DCMS review into gaming machines. (more…)

Groundbreaking report backs lowering FOBT stakes ahead of Triennial Review

Posted on November 23, 2016 by admin

An independent report into the effects of lowering FOBT stakes has, for the first time, created a compelling body of evidence to put before the DCMS, just ahead of the Triennial Review deadline.

A potentially pivotal report has been published in the battle for a level playing field on the high street, examining what effects radically lowering the stakes of FOBTs would have on players.

Read the full story in Coinslot

Reviewing the Gambling Review – Part four – Advertising

Posted on November 23, 2016 by admin

Derek Webb, Campaign for Fairer Gambling founder, continues his analysis of the DCMS review of Gambling Machines and Social Responsibility Measures.


GamblingA fixed odds betting terminal


The old Triennial Review of Gaming Machine Stakes and Prizes  was justified as a tool to address the effect of inflation. This has now been subsumed into the “Review of Gambling Machines and Social Responsibility Measures – Call to Evidence”.

Whilst there was a review of advertising in 2014 this was essentially just an industry, gambling and advertising regulator box-ticking exercise. The Government wanted to ensure that remote operators based offshore paid a point -of-consumption tax (PoC). The tool used to enable this was the Gambling (Licensing and Advertising) Act 2014. This required sites advertising in the UK to be licensed by the UK Gambling Commission, even if they were based in Gibraltar for example.

Even though the PoC has now been implemented, the bookmakers are still objecting with the Gibraltar Betting and Gaming Association calling for its members to be exempt from the tax. They are even going through  the Courts to try and overturn the UK Government’s decision. The bookmaker CEOs don’t want to pay tax where they make their profits. They want to profit from gambling harm, pay no tax, but still manage to keep a straight face when they claim to be socially responsible.

Research has shown that one in five CEOs is a psychopath, higher than in the prison population. It is more likely that these people, lacking in empathy for others, are attracted to sectors that engage in immoral and unethical behavior.

Remote gambling sites are unable to find enough new vulnerable victims through remote marketing and so resort to excessive and often unethical TV marketing. Originally affiliates were the major director of traffic to sites. These affiliates got a share of the revenue for introducing losing punters, even though the punter was not informed of that relationship.

Affiliates will recommend remote gambling operators based on the depth of the commercial relationship between them and the site. One of the 2005 Gambling Act licensing objectives is that gambling should be “fair and open”. Affiliate relationships are a serious blemish on that objective.

Bingo got a pre-watershed pass as it was perceived as soft gambling, based on the traditional perception of bricks-and-mortar bingo. However, bingo sites also have casino sites just a click away. So, daytime bingo advertising is used to drive sales in selected casino sites, to the disadvantage of casino sites that do not have an associated bingo site.

Football betting advertising also gets a pass when live football is broadcast pre-watershed. This has the added impact of encouraging gamblers who do not have access to remote accounts to go to betting shops instead and as a result, the new young football bettors are spotted by shop staff and steered towards FOBTs. “Would you like me to show you how to play?” Credits, bonus and tournaments are also all extra tools to get FOBTs sold to novice gamblers, all enabled through football betting advertising on TV.

Remember that these offshore sites have got away with using their tax advantage to market their land based betting shop gambling.

The other main sport for TV advertising is horseracing. Why should the sport of kings be subsidised by losing gamblers though? TV racing broadcasts already include the odds for races and the inane comments of the bookies’ cheerleaders. That alone is all bad enough, particularly when gamblers who are capable of winning are getting their accounts closed and/or bets restricted.

Commercial TV companies, who are always lobbying against the BBC, will be upset with any restrictions on TV advertising. However, DCMS should be more concerned with protecting the BBC than protecting the commercial interest of those who benefit from marketing addictive and potentially harmful gambling.

The 2005 Gambling Act swung the pendulum too far in favour of gambling operators. The backlash against this has been slow to build, but it is now one that Theresa May and her Government know they can no longer ignore.


The slot machines that changed bingo

Posted on November 18, 2016 by admin

The number of higher-stake slot machines found in bingo halls has tripled during the past five years. But what happens when some players lose life-changing amounts?

For most people, bingo halls still make them think of “legs 11″ – a caller rattling off numbers as elderly players frantically scour their cards.

But walk into most major bingo halls today and first you will have to navigate the flashing lights and high-pitched bleeps of gaming machines – and, probably, plenty of them.

Read the full story on BBC Online

Power to ban fixed-odds betting terminals could be devolved

Posted on November 18, 2016 by admin

The UK government has agreed to consider giving Wales the power to ban fixed-odds betting terminals. Wales Office Minister Lord Bourne said he will look at the issue again after protests in the House of Lords.

Gambling is currently reserved to Westminster, although responsibility for high-stakes machines is being devolved to Scotland.

Labour peer and AM Baroness Morgan tabled an amendment to the Wales Bill to give Wales responsibility over them.

Read the full story on BBC Online

Wales Seek to wrest control of their FOBT ‘problem’ from UK government

Posted on November 18, 2016 by admin

The Welsh Government are seeking responsibility to govern the regulations surrounding Fixed Odds Betting Terminals, taking control from Westminster, after issuing an amendment to the Wales Bill.

Read the full story on

UK government may devolve power to ban FOBTs

Posted on November 18, 2016 by admin

The UK government has said it will consider granting Wales the power to ban fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs) within its borders.

According to the BBC, Wales Office Minister Lord Bourne pledged to look at the issue again following protests in the House of Lords.

Although UK gambling law is currently under the jurisdiction of Westminster, responsibility for high-stakes machines is being devolved to Scotland, and Labour peer Baroness Morgan has tabled an amendment to the Wales Bill in order to give the county similar powers.

Read the full story in iGaming Business