£370m spent on fixed-odds betting terminals across the region

Hugh Bayley

Hugh Bayley

First published in News by

PEOPLE in our region are gambling more than £370 million a year on instant betting machines, shocking figures reveal.

York Central MP Hugh Bayley called the fixed-odds betting terminals, or FOBTs, the “crack cocaine of gambling”, as MPs prepared to today debate their use in the House of Commons.

Gamblers across our region spent more than £372 million on the machines in 2011/12.

Pressure group the Campaign For Fairer Gambling claims that for every £100 gamblers put into the machines, they get back only £81.50, meaning gamblers in our region will have lost almost £69m. The industry claims the machines pay out £97 for every £100 spent.

There are almost 350 of the terminals in our region, including 98 in York alone.

The machines allow players to bet with cash or using a debit card.

Gamblers can spend up to £100 every 20 seconds, more than four times as fast as the rate of play in casinos.

Last month, Labour nationally claimed betting shops and the fixed-odds machines were being aimed particularly at poor areas, spreading “like an epidemic”.

Mr Bayley said today the machines were highly addictive and that it was “wrong to have taken the most dangerous form of gambling and put it in the most successful place – in the high street”.

A spokesperson for the Stop The FOBTs campaign, who is a former worker in the gambling industry, said: “We have been contacted by people in the York area who are concerned about themselves or others being addicted to FOBTs.”

In one case, he claimed, a York gambler lost £55,000 over four to five years through an addiction to FOBTs.

Mr Bayley told the Press: “The legal framework which allowed the fruit machines to increase their stakes was in 2005 and at the time the Government was worried about super casinos and wanted to address that problem.

“Nobody at that stage foresaw that this FOBT situation would mushroom.”

Labour will today propose that local authorities should be allowed to restrict the number of FOBTs or ban them altogether from the premises. The figures, provided by the Campaign For Fairer Gambling group, are based on a report produced by the Gambling Commission and use average profit per terminal.

A spokesperson from the Association of British Bookmakers said: “It is disappointing to see the livelihoods of the 150 staff who work in York Central betting shops being used a political football in this way.

“Gaming machines have been played in betting shops for 12 years and are popular with our eight million customers.

“In that time no evidence has been produced to show gambling machines in betting shops are more addictive than any other form of gambling.

“Furthermore, the Health Survey for England published in December 2013 shows problem gambling levels have dropped since 2010.”

A City of York Council spokeswoman said: “The council will make any decisions on new legislation depending on what it specifies.”

Comments (17)

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12:27pm Wed 8 Jan 14

Salsaman says...

And which political party deregulated the gambling industry? Horse bolted and door come to mind.
And which political party deregulated the gambling industry? Horse bolted and door come to mind. Salsaman
  • Score: 25

12:32pm Wed 8 Jan 14

piaggio1 says...

Yep.it wer his mob that gave the green light to the betting companies.
Yep.it wer his mob that gave the green light to the betting companies. piaggio1
  • Score: 22

1:16pm Wed 8 Jan 14

ian923 says...

Pathetic self publicity by a member of the Party which authorised this problem.
Pathetic self publicity by a member of the Party which authorised this problem. ian923
  • Score: 17

1:16pm Wed 8 Jan 14

Pedro says...

We don't - in this county - tell you how much you should gamble or what you should drink. We give advice knowing that some people will ignore it. You either for prohibition or you are against it. Decide which side of the fence you are on and stick to it.
We don't - in this county - tell you how much you should gamble or what you should drink. We give advice knowing that some people will ignore it. You either for prohibition or you are against it. Decide which side of the fence you are on and stick to it. Pedro
  • Score: 6

1:31pm Wed 8 Jan 14

meme says...

are we not adult enough to decide where we spend our own money irresponsibly or otherwise?
If you are stupid enough to gamble it all away that is your choice. You are not forced to use these machines
are we not adult enough to decide where we spend our own money irresponsibly or otherwise? If you are stupid enough to gamble it all away that is your choice. You are not forced to use these machines meme
  • Score: 8

1:51pm Wed 8 Jan 14

Garrowby Turnoff says...

The FOBT machines are used by criminals to convert stolen or illegally obtained money into legal cash. An 81.5% conversion rate is far better than a criminal money launderer will offer. The FOBTs are owned by the big betting firms.
The FOBT machines are used by criminals to convert stolen or illegally obtained money into legal cash. An 81.5% conversion rate is far better than a criminal money launderer will offer. The FOBTs are owned by the big betting firms. Garrowby Turnoff
  • Score: 9

2:30pm Wed 8 Jan 14

old_selebian says...

what a load of tosh from the labour party who wanted to swamp us with super casinos, brought in 24 hour boozing....and they did away with the 'demand' test which helped prevent too many betting shops on high streets.
..a few less standardised Labour press releases please Mr Bayley
what a load of tosh from the labour party who wanted to swamp us with super casinos, brought in 24 hour boozing....and they did away with the 'demand' test which helped prevent too many betting shops on high streets. ..a few less standardised Labour press releases please Mr Bayley old_selebian
  • Score: 11

2:44pm Wed 8 Jan 14

againstthecuts says...

I,m glad hugh bayley has mentioned this. The fobt machines roulette machines are highly addictive made even worse by now using your credit card to play. I know someone who spent 2 grand in one sitting!
I,m glad hugh bayley has mentioned this. The fobt machines roulette machines are highly addictive made even worse by now using your credit card to play. I know someone who spent 2 grand in one sitting! againstthecuts
  • Score: 0

3:22pm Wed 8 Jan 14

TheTruthHurts says...

In many cities there are often many of the same bookmaker on one street. I often wondered why this was but looking into it its because there is a limit on how many of these machines you can have in one shop. If you need more machines they just open a shop next door...... they really make a lot of money, enough to cover rents and wages at least.
In many cities there are often many of the same bookmaker on one street. I often wondered why this was but looking into it its because there is a limit on how many of these machines you can have in one shop. If you need more machines they just open a shop next door...... they really make a lot of money, enough to cover rents and wages at least. TheTruthHurts
  • Score: 5

3:44pm Wed 8 Jan 14

the original Homer says...

Garrowby Turnoff wrote:
The FOBT machines are used by criminals to convert stolen or illegally obtained money into legal cash. An 81.5% conversion rate is far better than a criminal money launderer will offer. The FOBTs are owned by the big betting firms.
They put in their illegally obtained money and get back 81.5% in someone else's illegally obtained money! - Hardly money laundering if all you get back is someone elses dirty washing.
[quote][p][bold]Garrowby Turnoff[/bold] wrote: The FOBT machines are used by criminals to convert stolen or illegally obtained money into legal cash. An 81.5% conversion rate is far better than a criminal money launderer will offer. The FOBTs are owned by the big betting firms.[/p][/quote]They put in their illegally obtained money and get back 81.5% in someone else's illegally obtained money! - Hardly money laundering if all you get back is someone elses dirty washing. the original Homer
  • Score: -4

3:53pm Wed 8 Jan 14

Madasanibbotson says...

old_selebian wrote:
what a load of tosh from the labour party who wanted to swamp us with super casinos, brought in 24 hour boozing....and they did away with the 'demand' test which helped prevent too many betting shops on high streets.
..a few less standardised Labour press releases please Mr Bayley
If he actually did anything himself he wouldn't have to put his name to something he had nothing to do with.
[quote][p][bold]old_selebian[/bold] wrote: what a load of tosh from the labour party who wanted to swamp us with super casinos, brought in 24 hour boozing....and they did away with the 'demand' test which helped prevent too many betting shops on high streets. ..a few less standardised Labour press releases please Mr Bayley[/p][/quote]If he actually did anything himself he wouldn't have to put his name to something he had nothing to do with. Madasanibbotson
  • Score: 2

4:11pm Wed 8 Jan 14

meme says...

are we as adults incapable of deciding how we spend our money even if we decide to waste it on stupid gambling machines
The state cannot legislate against stupidity and moronic behaviour.
nobody forces anyone to gamble but its a personal choice if someone wants to waste their money
our politicians must have better ways to spend their time and our money!
are we as adults incapable of deciding how we spend our money even if we decide to waste it on stupid gambling machines The state cannot legislate against stupidity and moronic behaviour. nobody forces anyone to gamble but its a personal choice if someone wants to waste their money our politicians must have better ways to spend their time and our money! meme
  • Score: 0

4:34pm Wed 8 Jan 14

againstthecuts says...

meme wrote:
are we as adults incapable of deciding how we spend our money even if we decide to waste it on stupid gambling machines
The state cannot legislate against stupidity and moronic behaviour.
nobody forces anyone to gamble but its a personal choice if someone wants to waste their money
our politicians must have better ways to spend their time and our money!
not if people are addictied to the machines
[quote][p][bold]meme[/bold] wrote: are we as adults incapable of deciding how we spend our money even if we decide to waste it on stupid gambling machines The state cannot legislate against stupidity and moronic behaviour. nobody forces anyone to gamble but its a personal choice if someone wants to waste their money our politicians must have better ways to spend their time and our money![/p][/quote]not if people are addictied to the machines againstthecuts
  • Score: 0

6:22pm Wed 8 Jan 14

piaggio1 says...

Was this not a vote in the house of idiots?
I may be wrong. But which way did you vote hugh????
For or against.???? Mmm
Was this not a vote in the house of idiots? I may be wrong. But which way did you vote hugh???? For or against.???? Mmm piaggio1
  • Score: 4

10:24am Thu 9 Jan 14

oi oi savaloy says...

this man is a clueless muppet!
these machines are totally not forcing anybody to put their money in them!
and was it not his government that were harping on about super casino's a few years back, did they not want 40 las vegas style casinos in the UK ? this was only 9 years ago, is his memory that short?
did not the gambling bill allow for 24 hour casino's?
betting on good friday and christmas day?
and immediate access for the public?
only 29 labour mp's voted against it! how did bayley vote?
oh hang about he voted with an 'aye'
this man is a clueless muppet! these machines are totally not forcing anybody to put their money in them! and was it not his government that were harping on about super casino's a few years back, did they not want 40 las vegas style casinos in the UK ? this was only 9 years ago, is his memory that short? did not the gambling bill allow for 24 hour casino's? betting on good friday and christmas day? and immediate access for the public? only 29 labour mp's voted against it! how did bayley vote? oh hang about he voted with an 'aye' oi oi savaloy
  • Score: 5

12:40pm Thu 9 Jan 14

powerwatt says...

Why didn't Hugh voice these concerns when voting for the Gambling Act in 2004, then not even bothering to attend the amendments in 2005.
Why didn't Hugh voice these concerns when voting for the Gambling Act in 2004, then not even bothering to attend the amendments in 2005. powerwatt
  • Score: 4

1:17am Fri 10 Jan 14

Magicman! says...

I've said it in the Stonebow House article, where I suggested getting rid of Coral betting shop and the jobcentre next door to make room for an indoor market... but considering the betting shop is right next to the jobcentre you can see who their target market is.

Personally I don't understand why people are drawn to fixed odds terminals... if they were set to give people money then the betting shops wouldn't put them in; the shops are there to make money off the backs of people who don't realise they're being taken for a ride. I've had the odd gamble on proper devices, but I'm a guy who likes instant gratification and so after 3 attempts of nothing I give up and do something else!
I've said it in the Stonebow House article, where I suggested getting rid of Coral betting shop and the jobcentre next door to make room for an indoor market... but considering the betting shop is right next to the jobcentre you can see who their target market is. Personally I don't understand why people are drawn to fixed odds terminals... if they were set to give people money then the betting shops wouldn't put them in; the shops are there to make money off the backs of people who don't realise they're being taken for a ride. I've had the odd gamble on proper devices, but I'm a guy who likes instant gratification and so after 3 attempts of nothing I give up and do something else! Magicman!
  • Score: 0

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