News & views

You bet, Brits love a ‘flutter’

Posted on June 3, 2013 by admin

The spot-fixing scandal that has devastated the IPL points to the massive illegal betting industry that rides on cash-rich sports. Legalising betting is being suggested as a remedy, but it may only worsen the disease.

English language is rather good at evoking the British passion for gambling — people ‘gambling away’ their wealth, ‘betting the bank’ on a whim, ‘taking a punt’ on anything that might take their fancy, from horses and football matches to weather and the likely gender of the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton’s baby.

Brits love a ‘flutter’ and make no bones about it. Betting became legal in 1960 with the enactment of the Betting and Gaming Act, 1960. Today, it is a multi-billion pound industry. High-street betting shops, which represent just a fraction of Britain’s bourgeoning gambling trade, alone contribute £3 billion a year to the British economy, according to evidence submitted by the Association of British Bookmakers (ABB) to Parliament’s Culture, Media and Sports Committee.

To read the full article visit The Hindu Times online. 

Fixed Odds Betting Terminals. Are they the Crack Cocaine of Gambling?

Posted on May 28, 2013 by admin

Victoria Derbyshire Topic on Fixed Odds Betting Terminals. Are they the Crack Cocaine of Gambling?

Listen here.

Roulette machines: the crack cocaine of gambling

Posted on May 28, 2013 by admin

Fears are growing over the addictive nature of the roulette machines that keep bookies in business these days. Amelia Gentleman visits betting hotspot Slough and watches the punters’ £20 notes disappear into them.

The biggest spender in Slough’s Roar betting shop on a slow Wednesday morning is a middle-aged British Asian man, carrying some belongings in a Sainsbury’s plastic bag. He comes in with £180 in his wallet, which he feeds rapidly into the roulette machine and, within the space of around five minutes, loses.

He returns half an hour later with another £160. For a while it looks as if he might be winning back his earlier losses because a lucky spin inflates his first £20 stake to £176 on the screen. But he spins again and the cash drops to £146, jumps to £171, falls to £87, then to £55, and runs out. The machine sucks in a few more twenties, digesting the notes with a satisfying rattle. After a few minutes all the money has gone.

To read the full article visit The Guardian Online.

Watch BBC East Midlands Today and see the debate around FOBTs in the region

Posted on May 23, 2013 by admin

The debate starts at 10:28

FOBTs are becoming a serious problem in Wales

Posted on May 16, 2013 by admin

Stop the FOBTs campaigner Adrian Parkinson this week featured on Wales This Week’s programme on problem gambling. Adrian has 25 years’ experience in the betting industry, and in the role of regional machines manager at the Tote, was responsible for rolling out FOBTs.

The programme features one of thousands of problem gamblers whose problems developed as a result of an addiction to FOBTs. As Professor Jim Orford said, the accessibility of machines where you can bet up to £100 every 20 seconds is producing negative social consequences, and consequences which the state are not equipped to deal with. (more…)

Top Economist says spending on FOBTs is “destroying jobs”

Posted on May 15, 2013 by admin

Up to 22,000 jobs could be at risk if spending on betting shop roulette machines continues to grow, a report has concluded.

An economic analysis of spending on FOBTs commissioned by the Campaign for Fairer Gambling has concluded that FOBT revenue could grow to £3.4 billion in 10 years and, though this could create 11,400 jobs in the betting shop sector, the cost to employment in the wider local and consumer economy could be as high as 33,700 job losses. (more…)

Wales This Week, Against the Odds?

Posted on May 15, 2013 by admin

From bingo to the bookies, from the casino to the Lotto, traditional opportunities for a flutter have never been far away; but is there a danger that technology is making gambling too tempting?

You can now bet on-line, and on your smartphone anytime of the day and night and some experts are concerned that it could lead to more problem gamblers.

Wales This Week, ‘Against the Odds?’ is now available to watch online.

Medway bookmakers sign up to gambling partnership

Posted on May 10, 2013 by admin

High street bookmakers have signed up to a partnership with Medway Council to help tackle the problems associated with some betting machines.

Fixed odds betting terminal (FOBT) machines allow gamblers to spend up to £18,000 an hour.

Medway Council said gambling debts could lead to domestic abuse, stress and self-harm.

The Medway Responsible Gambling Partnership has said it will hold forums four times a year.

It will look at extending a scheme in which gamblers can look to get a voluntary ban from betting shops.

Read the full article on BBC News online. 

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…)