UK council to vote on FOBTs ban


Credits: Yamaguchi先生 // Wikipedia

The ruling Labour group is set to present a motion to ask the government to ban FOBTs machines or limit them to £2.

UK.- A motion asking the government to ban Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs) or limit them to £2 a spin is set to be presented at a meeting of the Bradford Full Council next week. The high-stakes roulette machines are normally called the “crack cocaine of gambling” by groups against gambling.

The government was supposed to publish a review of the FOBTs this summer but then the date was pushed back. Whilst the review is expected among people who are against the machines that allow people to bet £100 every 20 seconds.

Councillor Richard Dunbar, deputy executive member who presented the motion, said: “Earlier this summer one of my friends came to me and explained he had lost £1,000 in one hour on these machines. I feel that the protections are not there and the impact on people’s lives can be absolutely devastating. I could not believe how quickly this could happen to anybody and of course it affects those closest to the unfortunate people that get sucked into this as well,” Telegraph & Argus reported.

“I am raising this motion at Council because I believe the council should have more powers to tackle the number of Fixed Odds Betting Terminals locally and it is time the Government took this issue seriously.”

On the other hand, former bookmaker and MP for Shipley, Philip Davies, claimed that the Bradford Council wanted to leave betting shop staff out of jobs through “utter ignorance of the evidence.” Moreover, he said that there is no evidence at all to suggest that a reduction in stakes to £2 would reduce levels of problem gambling.

Davies added that banning never works and that they should treat each person who suffer from problem gambling: “Given that you can play exactly the same games as these on the internet, to unlimited stakes and unlimited prizes, then clearly it is pointless to reduce stakes just in betting shops.”

A spokesman for the Association of British Bookmakers said: “If the Government capitulate to the demands for bans or severe restrictions then over half of all shops and jobs in Bradford will be destroyed, yet people will continue to gamble on other forms of gambling that contribute little or nothing to the Bradford economy in terms of jobs and business rates.”