News & views

Whistleblower hits out at MPs

Posted on September 11, 2013 by admin

A WIGAN man at the heart of a campaign to rid betting shops of machines he dubbed the ‘crack cocaine of gambling’ has hit out at the Government’s attitude towards the issue.

Adrian Parkinson, who previously worked for Tote and is now spokesman for the Fairer Gambling organisation, was involved in launching the machines – known as fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs) – from 1999 until 2008, and authored the study for the Campaign for Fairer Gambling last year.

The results found that in Wigan alone, 87 FOBTs in 24 shops produced a gross profit of £2.89m.

The culture secretary Maria Miller is due to announce the outcome of a review of gaming machine stakes and prizes.

But she is expected to resist calls to drastically reduce stakes on FOBTs.

Mr Parkinson called FOBTs the “crack cocaine of gambling” but bookies say there is no evidence they cause addiction and his campaign has been backed by the MP for Makerfield, Yvonne Fovargue.

Read the full article on Wigan Today online.

The story of the man behind Stop the FOBTs & Campaign for Fairer Gambling

Posted on September 6, 2013 by admin

By Derek Webb, Founder of the Campaign for Fairer Gambling

My partner Hannah O’Donnell and I founded and fund both the Campaign for Fairer Gambling and the Stop the FOBTs Campaign. Our Stop the FOBTs campaign is focuses on our recommendation to reduce the maximum stakes on roulette machines in betting shops – known as B2s or Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs) – from £100 maximum to £2 per spin, in line with all other British gaming machines. The Campaign for Fairer Gambling has a wider remit and also takes positions on broader gambling issues.

Experts in player behavior

My understanding of gambling behavior comes from my many years as one of the most successful poker players of my time and as the inventor of the leading proprietary casino table game, Three Card Poker™, and the leading casino table side bet game, 21+3® blackjack.

I was always a competent poker player, doing particularly well from the late 1970s to the mid-1990s. I was responsible for organising what was once the only casino card room game of Texas Hold’Em in the UK and also for introducing Omaha into the UK.

In 1994, I created a new table game for British casinos which became Three Card Poker™, also known as Casino Brag™. I complied with the written requests of the regulated industry by proving the viability of the game in the US, although it did not get introduced to Britain until 2002.

We took an interest in gambling regulation and observed how inadequate internet gambling regulation was. We conducted an independent survey of attitudes to internet gambling, placed an advertisement in the Wall Street Journal on the subject of US internet gambling regulation and submitted a consultation in the proposed licensing conditions and codes of practice prior to the 2005 UK Gambling Act.


China Town ‘under threat’ from invasion of bookies driving restaurants out

Posted on September 5, 2013 by admin

The future of Chinatown is threatened by a betting shop invasion that is driving out its traditional Chinese restaurants, a community leader has warned.

Christine Yau, chairman of London Chinese Community Centre, has written to Mayor Boris Johnson and Eric Pickles expressing her alarm after an application for a tenth betting shop in the small West End enclave was lodged last month.

The operators of the proposed new bookies, called Hoolabet, have applied for a gambling licence for 47 Gerrard Street, until recently occupied by one of Chinatown’s longest established restaurants The Friendly Inn.

If, as expected, it gets go ahead the two storey Hoolabet shop will be next to a branch of Ladbrokes, a few doors from Paddy Power and close to a “gigantic” Betfred at the other end of Gerrard Street.

Read the full article on the London Evening Standard online.

Debate in Whitechapel set to focus on impact of betting shops

Posted on September 2, 2013 by admin

The impact of betting shops on communities will be up for discussion at a public debate due to be held next month.

The Central London Debating Club is to stage its first meeting in the East End, bringing together an expert panel to discuss one of the issues of the moment.

Organisers hope the event, to be held in Whitechapel, will give campaigners the opportunity to challenge those who support the rights of betting shops head on.

Tony Koutsoumbos, who chairs the society, said: “Campaigners say that betting shops foster gambling addictions and pose a real harm to the community, while the industry insists that people are responsible for their own actions and betting shops are simply providing a service and creating jobs in the process.

Read the full article on The Docklands & East London Advertiser online.

Dominic Lawson: My red card for the betting firms that put the boot into the poor

Posted on September 2, 2013 by admin

Here’s another suitable member for Gamblers Anonymous — even though his addiction has now been revealed to the whole country. Last week The Sun reported that the chief executive of the Professional Footballers’ Association, Gordon Taylor, had staked “£4m on more than 2,000 bets in just 30 months”. Taylor is being pursued for gambling debts by one of the many firms he used, which probably explains why the news of his very private vice found its way into the papers.

Read the full article in The Sunday Times here.

Score draw for ASA complaints

Posted on September 1, 2013 by admin

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has found itself involved with the campaign against B2 Gaming Machines as opposing sides complained about the other’s advertisements.

Read the full article in Betting Business here.

Suspect in court over Morden betting shop murder

Posted on August 29, 2013 by admin

A 21-year-old man charged with the murder of a Ladbrokes betting shop manager appeared at Southwark Crown Court last week.

Homeless Shafique Ahmad Aarij was due to enter a plea but the hearing was adjourned until Wednesday September 25.

He is accused of murdering Andrew Iacovou, 55, in the Aberconway Road shop, Morden, on Saturday May 25.

Read the full article on SW Londoner online.

BBC5 Live: Matt Zarb-Cousin discusses FOBTs

Posted on August 28, 2013 by admin

Listen to Matt Zarb-Cousin discuss the social impact of FOBTs on BBC5 Live Drive from 1.21.45 here. 

Maria Miller set to freeze stakes on fixed odds machines

Posted on August 23, 2013 by admin

Gamblers playing roulette machines in betting shops will continue to be allowed to bet up to £100 a spin, the BBC understands.

Culture Secretary Maria Miller is due to announce the outcome of a review of gaming machine stakes and prizes.

But she is expected to resist calls to drastically reduce stakes on so-called Fixed-Odds Betting Terminals (FOBT).

Read the full article on BBC News online.

Newsnight: Derek Webb debates the impact of FOBTs

Posted on August 16, 2013 by admin

Watch Derek Webb, founder of the Campaign for Fairer Gambling and Stop the FOBTs, discuss the ‘crack cocaine of gambling’ with Newsnight host Emily Maitlis and ABB Chief Executive Dirk Vennix online.