According to the Campaign for Fairer Gambling, gamblers in Teeside bet £50 million in FOBTs and lost over £12 million just in 2016.
UK.- Fixed odds beting terminals (FOBTs) have had a ‘crack cocaine-like’ effect in Teesiders, says the Campaign for Fairer Gambling that reported gamblers in the area lost over £12 million in just one year after betting nearly £50 million across the region’s 108 betting shops. Terminals popularily described as ‘roulette machines’ allow punters to gamble a maximum £100 a spin and have been the main target of campaigners.
Campaigners want to reduce the stake limit down to £2 and have been backed by Stockton North MP Alex Cunningham, who previously raised the issue in the Parliament and said FOBTS are “sucking money out of the pockets of the families who can least afford them.” Also by a Church of England bishop who issued a letter to Chancellor Philip Hammond slamming the “devastating” effect of the machines and blaming them for an increasein local crime rates.
However, the Association for British Bookmakers (ABB) has questioned said figures and argues that Teesiders spent way more money at other entertainment services like the cinema or pubs. “We do not recognise these figures which merely represent a rough calculation… and do not reflect the position in Teesside,” the ABB said.
The Association further explained that the machines roughly represent 13 percent of whats spent on gambling as a whole and has “strongly encouraged” people to game responsibly. They also commented that there’s a number of responsible gambling measures around them and highlighted a UKGC report from last month that rated problem gambling levels in the UK as “statistically stable.”