News & views

We need to take tougher action over FOBTs

Posted on June 30, 2014 by admin

Fixed odds betting terminals have cost gamblers in North Ayrshire £4m over the last 12 months.

Labour MP Brian Donohoe is stepping up his efforts to tackle the problem of gambling in North Ayrshire – after finding out that Glasgow gamblers bet £200 million a year on gaming machines.

Mr Donohoe joins SNP’s Kenneth Gibson who told the Herald last month the maximum stake on FOBTs – fixed odds betting terminals – should be slashed after we revealed gamblers in North Ayrshire bet a staggering £4 million on the machines in the last year.

Read the full article in the Daily Record online.

North Ayrshire gamblers lose £4m in a year

Posted on May 12, 2014 by admin

Calls are being made to crackdown on betting shop gaming machines after it was revealed that gamblers in North Ayrshire lost a staggering £4,691,482 over the last year.

The machines, which allow gamblers to play virtual games such as Blackjack and Roulette, have been labelled as the “crack cocaine of gambling”, such is the extent of addiction they cultivate.

Known as fixed odds betting terminals (FOBTs), gamblers are currently able to play a maximum stake of £100 – but concerned campaigners and politicians are calling on the UK Government to drastically lower this maximum limit to just £2.

Read the full article in The Daily Record online.

Matt Zarb-Cousin discussing luck on BBC World Service

Posted on May 8, 2014 by admin

Most people believe in some aspects of luck. Is believing in luck something which can empower us or does it mean we give up whatever control we feel we have over our lives?

Mike Williams discusses luck with former professional cricketer Ed Smith, therapist Alexander Anghelou and Cambridge psychologist Mike Aitken. And Mike also visits a casino to meet a reformed gambler.

Listen to Matt Zarb-Cousin discussing luck on BBC World Service online.

Paddy Power hits out at Government curbs on betting shops

Posted on May 6, 2014 by admin

Ministers have handed greater powers to local authorities to limit the number of betting shops on Britain’s high streets, sparking an angry backlash from some leading bookmakers.

Betting shops will now be treated differently from banks or estate agents and their planning applications will be subject to far more scrutiny by local authorities to alleviate concerns over the “clustering” of bookies on Britain’s high streets.

The Government on Wednesday also announced a raft of safeguards around electronic gaming machines known as fixed-odds betting terminals, which have been dubbed the “crack cocaine of gambling” by campaigners who claim they are highly addictive.

Read the full article in The Daily Telegraph online.

Councils will get power to block new betting shops

Posted on May 6, 2014 by admin

New restrictions on betting shops will be introduced this week, ministers pledged last night, amid fears of a growing use of high-stakes machines fuelling gambling addiction.

Local authorities will be given greater control over planning applications by betting firms on high streets, with powers to reject new shops if there are already clusters of gambling outlets in an area.

Yet there remain concerns about the proliferation of the highly-addictive fixed odds betting terminals which allow stakes of up to £100 that can be lost at a stroke. Despite an increase in tax on the machines from 5 per cent to 25 per cent by George Osborne in his Budget last month, there are calls for greater restrictions on the high-stakes machines.

Read the full article in The Independent online.

Maximum cash stake on fixed-odds betting terminals to be restricted

Posted on May 6, 2014 by admin

A cut in the maximum amount of cash that can be inserted into fixed-odds betting machines is to be imposed by the government to ease concern about the high-stakes electronic devices.

Under the new rules, anyone using a fixed-odds betting terminal (FOBT) – often called the crack cocaine of gambling – will need to inform staff if they want to bet more than £50 cash at a time.

Gamblers would also have the alternative of getting an online account so that spending can be tracked, following an assessment released by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).

Read the full article in The Guardian online.

£50 bets on betting machines ‘must be made over the counter’: Officials recommend move in attempt to tackle problem gambling

Posted on May 6, 2014 by admin

Gamblers who want to place bets of more than £50 on controversial fixed-odds machines will have to do so over the counter.

Officials have recommended the move in an attempt to tackle problem gambling on the so-called ‘crack cocaine’ betting terminals.

Ministers want to force punters to interact with staff when placing large bets on the highly-addictive electronic devices – on which they can lose £100 every 20 seconds.

Read the full article in The Daily Mail online.

Don’t bet on beating us, say bookies in row over gambling machines as staff bonuses depend on casino game profits

Posted on May 4, 2014 by admin

Government plans to reform betting shops are under threat from all sides as politicians and local councils complain they are too weak, and smaller bookmakers threaten to call for a judicial review.

At the same time it has emerged that betting shop staff get higher bonuses if more customers play on fixed-odds betting terminals – the focus of concern for campaigners who dub them ‘the crack cocaine of gambling’.

Reforms outlined last week to allay fears over fixed-odds betting terminals, or FOBTs, as well as the spread of betting shops on the high street were criticised by everyone except the biggest operators, who had expected harsher measures.

Read the full article in The Daily Mail online.

Gambler: I went for a pint of milk and lost £5k in mins

Posted on May 1, 2014 by admin

A secret gambler revealed to 5 live Breakfast that he’d “probably gambled every penny” he’s earnt in the past six years and his debt is reaching six figures.

‘John’ also told Nicky Campbell he once went out for a pint of milk and gambled away £5,000 in minutes.

Listen to the interview from BBC Radio 5 online.

Has the government done enough on fixed odds betting terminals?

Posted on May 1, 2014 by admin

Channel 5 news spoke to Matt Zarb-Cousin, a former gambling addict who now campaigns against these machines, and Dirk Vennix from the Association of British Bookmakers