The Campaign for Fairer Gambling has welcomed today’s call by Ed Miliband to rid Britain of the “dangerously addictive” roulette machines in betting shops and support more powers for local authorities to curb them. The move now puts the issue of betting shops and FOBTs firmly on the national agenda. (more…)
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Ed Miliband today vows to rid Britain of controversial high-stake gaming machines .
In an exclusive interview with the Daily Mirror, the Labour leader says he will bring in laws allowing councils to ban fixed-odds terminals from betting shops.
Punters can lose up to £100 every 20 seconds on the machines – branded the “crack cocaine” of gambling.
Mr Miliband told the Mirror the terminals were “dangerously addictive” and the cause of “untold damage” as household budgets were gambled away.
He said they had become an “epidemic”, raking in £1.55billion for bookies in the last year.
Read the full article in The Mirror online.
On the surface Simon Perfitt had it all. Barely a decade ago the 47-year-old divorcee had moved in with a new girlfriend, drove a Porsche and took lucrative posts in e-commerce where pay deals were sweetened by corporate perks such as free housing.
But Perfitt led a double life. He did not earn money to build a better life but instead used it to feed a gambling addiction to bookmakers’ betting terminals. His cravings saw him lose not only his relationship but left him homeless and facing personal ruin after pouring, he says, £200,000 into the machines.
Fixed odds betting terminals (FOBTs), which offer high-stakes, high-speed casino games such as roulette, were dubbed the “crack cocaine of gambling” almost the day they arrived in Britain. Solitary, uninterrupted machine play, it was claimed, produced a trance-like state, not dissimilar to that experienced by a drug addict.
A council is to write to the government to “demand urgent action” for a ban of gambling machines in betting shops.
Preston City Council said the increased use of Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs) is causing “significant problems” in the city.
Councillors also voted unanimously for a motion calling for councils to be able cut the maximum stakes of FOBTs, which include games like roulette.
The Association of British Bookmakers said “we offer products people want”. Read more on BBC News.
Local authorities across the country last night joined a growing number of councils calling on the Government to restrict Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs), the roulette machines in betting shops on which it is possible to bet up to £100 every 20 seconds.
These high speed, high stake addictive gaming machines have led to the proliferation of betting shops on the high street, as each premises is limited to four. Councils are limited in their potential to control or restrict the number of betting shops, and have demanded more powers to deal with FOBTs, machines that have been described as “the crack cocaine of gambling”. (more…)
Bookie Betfred has backtracked on plans to force most branches to open late on Christmas Eve this year.
Insiders say shops had been ordered to open until 9pm, even though there were no big UK sports events on.
Sources say it was so the firm could make money from fixed odds betting machines.
One worker said: “I know of staff with young children who wouldn’t be able to put their children to bed on that of all days.”
Betfred claimed the original plan was for the vast majority of branches to close at 7.30pm on Christmas Eve, as well as Boxing Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.
Read the full story in today’s Mirror.
Hundreds of staff at Britain’s biggest independent bookmaker have been told weeks before Christmas that their pay is being cut by hundreds of pounds a month and that future wages will be linked to the profits of high-speed, high-stakes betting terminals.
In a move condemned by campaigners as Scrooge-like behaviour, Betfred, which has almost 1,400 betting shops in the nation’s high streets, proposes grading the performance of staff with a “higher weighting” given to the profits their shops make from fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs) – machines that critics say lead to crime and the regulator warns present a “high inherent money-laundering risk”.
Read more in the Guardian.
Betting shop managers are being told their wages are to be directly linked to how much cash punters pour in to a new generation of high stakes gaming machines branded a ‘social cancer’.
A leaked memo reveals that staff at one of Britain’s biggest bookmakers have been told ‘higher weighting’ is to be attached to profits from fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs).
Read more in Mail Online.
There’s something magical about proper roulette – choosing your favourite numbers, placing your chips on the green baize.
Then an expectant hush followed by the croupier’s spin and the whiz and clatter of the ball as it settles.
But I found there was no magic in playing the game on a controversial casino-style machine at a bookies – especially as I blew £500 in just 48 minutes.
The Sunday People is campaigning for tough regulations to control fixed odds betting terminals, on which punters can lose up to £100 in 20 seconds. So I decided to try one for myself.
Read more in the Mirror here.
Punters are gambling £2 in betting shop gaming machines for every £3 going into their local NHS .
Former Cabinet minister John Denham is furious that £200million went into the Fixed Odds Betting Terminals in his Southampton Labour constituency last year.
Spending on doctors and hospitals is £280million. Mr Denham said: “Nobody begrudges people a bit of fun, but the Government needs to act urgently.
Read the full story in the Mirror here.