Stopping the FOBTs: How addictive roulette machines became an election issue
Posted on May 7, 2015
The Campaign for Fairer Gambling calls for the next Government to not ‘brush a stake reduction under the carpet.’
Three years ago, the word ‘FOBT’ to most people was relatively unknown. Even its Sunday name – Fixed Odds Betting Terminal – was a phrase most people would answer with a puzzled expression.
Today, mentions of the word ‘FOBT’ or ‘fixed odds betting terminal’ in Parliamentary business occur over ten times more than they did in 2012. Measures to restrict FOBTs were included in three of the five major party manifestos – Labour, Lib Dem and UKIP. In Scotland, the issue also made it into the manifestos of both Scottish Labour and the SNP.
There is no harm in letting Scotland have its own gambling controls
Posted on April 23, 2015
“There is no doubt that Fixed Odds Betting Terminals cause harm and hardship in communities across Scotland,” read the SNP manifesto, published on Monday this week. Their proposal is to “control the growth and impact of these machines.” This was preceded by Scottish Labour promising to use the powers offered by the Smith Commission to “stop the spread of FOBTs.”
Both the leading political parties in Scotland now recognise the harm and social damage caused by the £100 a spin high street casino machines. But it is not clear from their respective manifesto proposals whether they understand that it is the high stakes that are the problem, not the quantity of machines.
International news from the FOBT suppliers
Posted on April 20, 2015
The founder of the Campaign for Fairer Gambling looks into whether specific communities and demographics are being targeted by the companies behind fixed odds betting terminals.
Great Britain is the only country foolish enough to allow FOBTs in high street betting shops with roulette at stakes up to £100 per spin every 20 seconds. However, as FOBTs are just one form of electronic gaming machine (EGMs) it is useful to consider what the FOBT suppliers say about EGMs when trying to understand FOBTs.
A recent issue of the international trade magazine Global Gaming Business (GGB) featured two relevant articles. One article, with the title of “Target Youth”, was a write-up on Inspired, one of the two FOBT suppliers, quoting Lucy Buckley, the Director of Strategy and Communications at Inspired. She stated that the younger audience is more interested in quick play games and a “place a quick bet during my lunch break experience” than having to visit a special destination.
Gaming machines in betting shops could be banned, says Labour
Posted on April 17, 2015
The Labour Party has said it will give local councils the power to ban high-stakes gaming machines from betting shops if they cause antisocial behaviour.
“Communities will be able to review betting shop licenses in their area and reduce the number of fixed-odds betting terminals in existing betting shops — or ban them entirely — in response to local concerns,” the party said in its manifesto, which was released on Monday.
Read the full article in The Financial Times online.
“Gloucester can do better than bookies and pound shops,” says council
Posted on April 10, 2015
Bookies have been told to back-off from Gloucester.
Coral Racing had submitted planning applications for stores at empty units in The Oxbode, opposite Debenhams, and at Glevum Shopping Centre in Abbeymead.
Gloucester City Council’s planning committee reluctantly approved the city centre store as it had no grounds to refuse it, but councillors were able to turn down the Abbeymead application at a meeting on Tuesday.
Read the full article in The Gloucestershire Citizen online.