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Friday, 29 August 2014

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Copeland punters bet £58.7m on terminals

AN extra £2 million was gambled on Copeland betting machines over 12 months, new figures reveal.

Punters using the fixed odds betting terminals – deemed the “crack cocaine of gambling’’ – wagered £58,792,227 in 2012, up from £56,884,100 in 2011.

The terminals, or FOBTs, are touch-screen roulette and casino machines in betting shops. It is possible to stake up to £100 every 20 seconds.

Statistics based on betting industry data show the Copeland constituency has 55 of the machines and 15 bookmakers. Workington constituency, in comparison, has three bookmakers and 11 FOBTs and saw £11,745,538 gambled in 2012, up from £11,376,820 in 2011.

Adrian Parkinson, a consultant for the Fairer Gambling Organisation, said: “The rise is attributable to the continued growth in revenue being attained by bookmakers on FOBTs. They are the only gaming machine product showing persistent real-terms growth which is a characteristic of problem gambling.”

Pastor Fred McKeown, 48, of Millom Community Church, was addicted to both gambling and alcohol until finding faith at 22. He said: “Gambling has a bigger profile than ever before. Yet its inherent problems do not get the attention of other addictions such as alcohol and drugs. I think we would all be shocked if we really knew how many people gamble.

“These fixed odds betting terminals offer yet another dimension and here you can lose a lot more money a lot more quickly. They are a danger to people who have a disposition towards gambling.

“There is a great need for branches of Gamblers Anonymous in Cumbria, as the more I talk to people, the more I hear how the problem is bigger than I could ever have imagined.

“Gambling seems to be just a bit of fun for some people. But for others it is far from that. It can take people in to a life of depression, rejection, isolation and even thoughts of suicide.”

Last week, Prime Minister David Cameron admitted there was a “problem” with fixed-odds betting terminals which needed “looking at". However, he said the Government would wait until a report by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport before deciding what to do.

Labour wants to give councils the power to revoke or reduce the number of FOBTs in betting shops, as well as changing how the machines work to reduce harm by increasing the time between plays, requiring pop-up warnings of how much people are spending and requiring breaks in play.

Neil Goulden, chairman of the Association of British Bookmakers, said: “Betting is a pursuit enjoyed by millions of working class people throughout Britain and we seek to reach the widest audience possible by being present on high streets. But we accept that there are concerns about gaming machines and are always open to a constructive dialogue about the appropriate powers for local authorities.”

Have your say

thing is Claire its my own money what I,ve worked for so I wont have the like of you busy bodies what I can do with my money,in other words mind your own business,perhhaps if I was a druggie it would br ok.
what sad hobbies doyou crave for,prob watching reality shows I imagine,,,,,,now that is boring.

Posted by cynical west cumbrian on 21 January 2014 at 13:00

Fixed odds betting terminals were launched in 1999 after then chancellor Gordon Brown scrapped tax on individual bets in favour of taxing bookmakers' profits
After the 2005 Gambling Act, fixed odds betting terminals were given legal backing and put under the same regulatory framework as fruit machines.

Posted by Betting Bob on 18 January 2014 at 16:41

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