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.
The Campaign for Fairer Gambling recently found itself in Brighton for the Lib Dem Spring Conference. As a Labour member, I’d never been before, and I was pleasantly surprised at the level of attention and support our stand received.
It was an opportunity to showcase the new Stop the FOBTs branding, but also release the evidence http://www.stopthefobts.org/the-evidence/. The government knows there’s a problem with FOBTs, but has said it can only act on empirical evidence. I won’t go into the technical stuff, as it’s quite complex but the video starring co-founder Derek Webb explains it well. Up until now we’ve received plenty of stories, or “anecdotes” about problem gambling and FOBTs, but we’ve recently discovered empirical evidence, which we were keen to divulge in Brighton.
The Campaign for Fairer gambling officially launched “Stop the FOBTs” in Westminster yesterday – its latest Campaign which is already gathering public and political support.
The Campaign to stop the proliferation of Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs) on UK’s high streets has been in the media spotlight since the beginning of the year. MPs from all political parties gathered at the launch at the House of Commons to show support to the new, grassroots Campaign to be organized across the UK.
Purpose of event: To learn about the launch of the Stop the FOBTs campaign
• David Lammy, Tottenham MP and Stop the FOBTs supporter
• Matt Zarb-Cousin, former FOBT addict
• Professor Jim Orford MA, PhD, University of Birmingham
• Derek Webb, founder of the Campaign for Fairer Gambling