Gambling has become a huge problem here in the UK, and many experts are growing increasingly concerned about this. There have been many suggestions made in regards to tackling this issue, but with so many bookmakers on local high streets as well as the hundreds of online betting firms, it is extremely challenging. One recent suggestion by Lord Jeremy Beecham is to limit the number of fixed odds betting terminals (FOBTs) that are allowed in local bookmakers in a desperate attempt to help those suffering from gambling addiction.
Government ministers told Jeremy Beecham, former Newcastle City Council leader, that they would consider the proposal to limit the number of FOBTs that are being placed in local bookmakers. Lord Beecham and the Bishop of Bristol had previously requested that councils be permitted to control the number of these high-stakes betting machines being put into local bookmakers’ shops. FOBTs are extremely dangerous, allowing customers to place bets of up to £100 every twenty seconds on games such as roulette. Shockingly, it is estimated that £1.7 billion was gambled on these terminals in 2015 alone!
Some protestors have branded the machines “addictive” and believe that these should be either banned or have stricter rules placed on them. Campaigners have said that the machines cause “havoc and misery”. In October 2016, the Government commissioned a review of the gambling industry and FOBTs in particular. Lord Beecham insisted that the Government seriously consider imposing a limit on the amount of FOBTs in each area. He also said that these machines encourage violence and crime, and he believes that the laws for bookmakers should be altered so that two members of staff should be on the premises at any given time to ensure maximum safety for employees.
Targeting Poorer Areas
Government Minister Baroness Chisholm said that these proposals would be considered as part of the review. Lord Beecham stated that FOBTs were targeted to less well-off areas, saying, “The 35,000 machines are concentrated in poorer areas where they divert money from the local economy, and they are the scene of 40% of all serious crimes against businesses. Police call-outs increased by 51% in 2014 from the previous year, 7,000 machines a year are destroyed, and assaults on staff are increasing. If the industry continues to grow to double its size in the next ten years, the net cost to the economy will be 11,000 jobs. These figures do not, of course, reflect the indirect cost to the taxpayer of the consequences of the social damage arising from gambling, for example in terms of family breakdown or costs to the NHS, let alone from the crime to which I’ve alluded.”
According to Lord Beecham, the victims of crime were, in most cases, the employees. He added,”In many shops, where it is now usual to have only one employee, staff are housed in what is described as a cage, which they are not permitted to leave until 6.30pm. Let me emphasise that the Government are alive to the concerns about the dangers that fixed-odds betting terminals can pose.”
So many people around the UK are becoming affected by gambling addiction, and this is a serious issue. If you are worried that you may be suffering from this type of addiction, then contact us here at Blue Skies Recovery. We will ensure that you have the best chances of overcoming your addiction and moving on to lead a happier life on the back of it. If you have any further queries or require any additional information, then do not hesitate to get in touch with us; it would be our pleasure to assist you.
- Time for a limit on the amount of gambling machines? Calls for controls over ‘addiction’ (Chronicle Live)