News & views

The gambling machines helping drug dealers ‘turn dirty money clean’

Posted on November 11, 2013 by admin

Dressed in a grey hoodie and jeans, James, 24, looks like just another lost soul in the high street, shuttling between the six betting shops in an east coast seaside town. It’s a weekday morning and if you catch up with him inside a bookmaker, you’ll find him peering intently into the green glowing screen of an electronic gambling machine – feeding in £200, “a score at a time”.

But this is not a young gambler blowing his meagre wages. James is a drug dealer and his interest in the bookmakers – and the fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs) in each shop – is all about laundering money. “That’s what turns dirty money clean,” he says. Dealers feed their drug money through the machines, losing a little and then cashing out with the vast majority of their stake, James says. They can then collect a printed ticket showing they have gambled that day – meaning that if stopped by police, they can answer questions about why an apparently unemployed young man carries hundreds of pounds in rolled-up cash.

Read the full article in The Guardian online.

Police callouts to bookmakers average 165 a week

Posted on November 11, 2013 by admin

Police were called out on average 165 times a week to bookmakers in 2012-2013 – yet gambling companies chose to report just 1% of these callouts as suspicious enough to warrant reporting to the industry regulator.

The weekly figure was calculated using the Gambling Commission’s response to a freedom of information request in which it reveals that there were 8,599 customer incidents in betting shops requiring police assistance. During the same period just 98 suspicious activity reports (SARs) were submitted to the regulator by bookmakers and passed on to the now defunct Serious Organised Crime Agency.

Read the full article in The Guardian online.

Simon Read: Payday lenders are in denial over targeting advertising at children

Posted on November 11, 2013 by admin

You might assume that payday lenders are very thick-skinned, especially given their robust defence of their activities before a committee of MPs this week. But it seems there are some activities with which even they don’t like to be linked. Specifically, they took umbrage after being accused of “grooming” children.

Payday-loan mouthpiece Russell Hamblin-Boone of the Consumer Finance Association, who was one of those dragged in front of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Tuesday, said: “It is irresponsible and wholly inappropriate to suggest that lenders are deliberately targeting children for any purpose.”

Read the full article in The Independent online.

Liverpool first city to ban high-speed betting machines

Posted on November 8, 2013 by admin

High-speed betting machines on which punters can lose thousands of pounds in minutes will be outlawed in Liverpool, making it the first UK city to first their use.

Read the full article in The Independent i.

City wants ban on ‘crack cocaine’ betting machines

Posted on November 8, 2013 by admin

A council has demanded a ban on electronic betting machines – dubbed the crack cocaine of gambling – because of the growing problem of addiction.

Read the full article in The Daily Mail.

 

City wants ban on ‘crack cocaine’ betting machines: Liverpool Council warns people are losing jobs and turning to loan sharks because they are addicted to games

Posted on November 8, 2013 by admin

A council has demanded a ban on electronic betting machines – dubbed the crack cocaine of gambling – because of the growing problem of addiction.

Fixed-odds betting terminals allow punters to use debit cards and gamble up to £300 a minute – more than four times faster than casinos’ rate of play.

According to recent research, bookmakers are becoming increasingly reliant on them for revenue, with 80 per cent of their turnover coming from the machines.

Read the full article in The Daily Mail online.

Calls for gambling machines ban

Posted on November 7, 2013 by admin

Campaigners have called for the government to ban electronic gambling machines in betting shops across Liverpool and the rest of the UK.

The Campaign for Fairer Gambling claims that fixed odds betting terminals (FOBTs) are the fastest way to lose money and are luring in the poorest in society. Unlike fruit machines in pubs – where there is a £2 limit on stakes – gamblers can bet up to £100 every 20 seconds with their debit cards on FOBTs.

Read the full article in JMU Journalism online.

Liverpool Council calls for ban on betting shop roulette machines

Posted on November 7, 2013 by admin

Liverpool Council yesterday voted unanimously to ban the high-speed, high-stake roulette machines found in betting shops throughout the city. The machines, known as Fixed Odds Betting Terminals, or FOBTs, have risen to prominence following a fiery Prime Minister’s Questions in the House of Commons last month, during which David Cameron said Government should “take a proper look at them”. (more…)

Liverpool votes to ban gambling machines

Posted on November 7, 2013 by admin

Liverpool city council has voted to ban high-stakes, high-speed gambling machines, with councillors claiming that people are losing money they can ill afford to in betting shops.

Councillor Nick Small, who tabled the motion, said the city would be asking the government to either ban fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs) or give councils powers to limit stakes and/or prizes on the machines, and restrict how many betting shops can open in certain areas.

Read the full article in The Guardian online.

Councillors impose robust conditions on East Ham betting shop

Posted on November 6, 2013 by admin

Newham Council has imposed tough new conditions on a betting shop described by a councillor as a “honeypot for gangsters”.

Councillors sitting on the licensing sub-committee on November 1 said the William Hill branch at 181 High Street North, in East Ham must have a full CCTV system with four external cameras, a minimum of two members of staff and an intruder alarm and a panic button. The shop must also insist customers undert 21 provide ID and the store must carry out an undercover test purchase at least once every six months.

East Ham councillor Ian Corbett told the hearing the William Hill branch was “a honey pot for gangsters and gangland people from other parts of London to come to”.

Read the full article in The Newham Recorder online.