News & views

Why do we prop up an industry destroying lives across Britain?

Posted on May 8, 2013 by admin

The digital roulette offered on fixed odds betting terminals is gambling’s crack cocaine.

As always when dawn breaks over this day, we turn to the parlour game of Fantasy Queen’s Speech. All regal orations have a strong element of fantasy, by painting a rosier picture of the legislative year ahead than the one that will come to pass. But the point of FQS is not to moan about the wishful thinking to which Her Majesty is condemned to give voice. It is to imagine what the old girl might say if a mischievous Black Rod spiked her water with a Mickey Finn truth serum.
This year, my preferred fantasy statement is as follows: “My Government will knowingly, deliberately and cynically add to my subjects’ sufferings, by colluding in the betting industry’s drive to increase the addiction to gambling.”

On reflection, the sovereign may be in the dark on this one, and, if so, she is in good company. The ruthless targeting of potential problem gamblers through the proliferation of the electronic gaming devices known as fixed odds betting terminals is a national scandal. But since very few of us ever enter a bookmakers’, and since the bookies’ prey are primarily those who do not vote and have no voice, it is largely hidden in plain sight.

I should state, in the hope of pre-empting any squealing letters of complaint from the bookies and their friends at Westminster, that I am not a puritanical enemy of gambling. Like Derek Webb, a professional gambler who made a fortune from inventing casino games, and now spends part of it fighting the march of FOBTs via his Campaign For Fairer Gambling, I am the precise opposite.

Read the full article in The Independent online.

Campaign challenges IEA report on Crack Cocaine of Gambling

Posted on April 24, 2013 by admin

In advance of a debate scheduled for Wednesday 24th April, the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) has published a report questioning whether the fixed odds betting terminals (FOBTs) are indeed the crack cocaine of gambling and threatening the credibility of the Campaign for Fairer Gambling.

The Campaign has hit back saying that the report is nothing more than Association of British Bookmaker (ABB) propaganda and omits key evidence that proves the harm caused by the electronic gaming machines with roulette content, found in betting shops. (more…)

Racing’s ruling body has not sold out to the bookies over FOBTs

Posted on April 17, 2013 by admin

“If I ate cornflakes, I would have choked on them.” Thus the reaction of a senior official at one of racing’s representative bodies when confronted with a Racing Post headline last Thursday, declaring that ‘Racing backs bookies in FOBTs battle’.

FOBTs, for readers who are not betting shop habitués, are ‘Fixed Odds Betting Terminals’, offering computerised roulette and other games of chance, allowing stakes of up to £100 and wins of up to £500 per play. They have become hugely important to British bookmakers, accounting for just over half of all income through betting shops in 2011, but are a source of concern for some campaigners, who fear they pose a particular danger to those at risk of a gambling problem.

Read the full story from The Guardian online. 

HIGH STAKES SHOWDOWN

Posted on April 12, 2013 by admin

‘Racing backs bookies in FOBTs battle’ Read page 6 & 7 of the Racing Post from 11th April by clicking here.

‘CRACK COCAINE’ OF BETTING: CONSULTATION ENDS TODAY

Posted on April 10, 2013 by admin

A consultation on highly addictive betting machines, known as the ‘crack cocaine of gambling’, ends today.

The machines have flourished in high street betting shops following Labour’s liberalisation of gambling laws.

Many critics say the machines are a key factor in the explosion in problem gamblers, particularly among the poor.

Read the full story on The Christian Institute online.

Boom in bookies may be about to end with threat of jackpot cap on slot machines described as ‘crack cocaine of gambling’

Posted on April 8, 2013 by admin

The Grand National may be Britain’s most popular flutter, but the boom in bookies may be about to end at the next hurdle with the threat of a jackpot cap on slot machines described as the ‘crack cocaine of gambling’.

The B2 fixed odds betting terminals (FOBTs) allow gamblers to stake high sums of cash for the chance of big prizes.

But a Government consultation due to close on Tuesday is threatening to cap prizes at £100 instead of the current £500.

Supporters of the cap say it will help to stem the tide of problem gambling.

Read the full story on This is Money online.

Losers – and winners Lucy Care expresses her feelings about FOBTs through her blog

Posted on March 25, 2013 by admin

Lucy Care shares with readers a story of a negative gambling experience in her childhood, which shaped the way she feels about FOBTs and gambling in general.

Read Lucy’s story on her blog

Plan for second betting shop meets opposition

Posted on March 21, 2013 by admin

EARLY OPPOSITION has emerged to a betting firm’s Forfar plans to set up a second shop within two furlongs of its existing town centre premises.

Bookies firm Coral Racing Ltd has made a bid to open an additional store at the vacant former Happit site at 13-15 Castle Street, a mere five minute walk (or a good drive and short wedge from Bubba Watson) from the existing shop on the town’s East High Street.

However, last night the odds were already stacking up against the company, with one local elected member describing the application for a second shop as “nonsense.”

Read the full story on The Courier online 

SPECIAL INVESTIGATION: Anguish behind lucrative bookies’ high-tech facade as female staff left to fend for themselves

Posted on March 20, 2013 by admin

Once they were smoky, spit-and-sawdust establishments where old men shuffled in to put a pound on a nag in the 3.15 at Towcester.

Today they have become high-tech, glass-fronted retail outlets where traditional over-the-counter sports betting has taken second place to the highly attractive – some might say addictive – betting machines, which rake in millions of pounds a year for the major bookmakers such as Ladbrokes, William Hill, Betfred and Gala Coral.

But as bookies seek to capitalise on the inexorable rise of the machines, it is the shop staff who say they are suffering from the drive for greater cost-savings and longer opening hours to fuel the growing obsession with the fixed-odd betting machines.

Read the full story on This Is Money Online

MP apologises for code breach over Cheltenham trip

Posted on March 19, 2013 by admin

A Tory MP has apologised for breaching the parliamentary code after the Commons watchdog concluded he should have declared hundreds of pounds of hospitality from Britain’s biggest bookmaker during a contentious year-long inquiry into the betting trade, when he asked questions about gambling and before securing debates on the issue.

Philip Davies, a prominent member of the culture, media and sport select committee, recorded in the register of MPs’ interests that in March 2011 he was taken to the Cheltenham festival – a trip worth £870 – as a guest of the bookmaker Ladbrokes.

Read the full story on The Guardian Online