Today I got my chance to ask the Prime Minister a question in the House of Commons. I asked her about what plans her Government had to deal with problem gambling and the Fixed Odds Betting Machines that are now in all of our bookies.
“I know the Prime Minister is well aware of the misery and suffering caused by reckless gambling.
Following her own recent experience of reckless gambling and the turmoil this had led to for her friends and colleagues,
will she now commit to legislating against Fixed Odds Betting Terminals, the cause of so much hardship in our communities?
For the Prime Minister’s answer, see below;
British gamblers lost a total of £13.8 billion last year, £1.8 billion of this was lost on B2 betting machines, these Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs) are essentially casino machines that are calculated to pay out in certain ratios. The betting shops set these ratios. This means you are guaranteed to lose out if you use these machines regularly.
The amount lost betting on these machines rose by £57 million last year. Overall the amount lost on these machines has increased 73% since 2009, despite their number only increasing 9%.
An analysis of the location of these FOBTs found that they are clustered in areas of high deprivation. It also found that problem gamblers and the unemployed were the most likely to bet the maximum stake of £100. Study of playing patterns also found that individual players were losing up to £13,777, over half the average UK wage, in just 10 months of gambling.