It’s been recently reported that gamblers in Plymouth spent a whopping £86.5m on betting machines in 2012.
The Fixed-Odds Betting Terminals, which have been called “addictive as crack cocaine,” allow their users to wager as much as £100 on casino games like roulette every 20 seconds.
The figures were produced by the Campaign for Fairer Gambling, which is deeply concerned that these machines are creating problem gamblers and making it even easier for those with existing addictions to bet. The betting machines are freely available in local bookmakers and the CFG wants regulation of them made much tighter.
As the city of over 70,000 inhabitants suffers from high levels of deprivation and poverty, with one in five children affected, it seems that its residents can’t get enough of these gambling machines, despite their poor standards of living.
As the 2005 Gambling Act only allows a maximum of four terminals per betting shop, bookies appear to be bypassing the red tape by opening more shops. Despite a 2007 Scoping Study, which recommended that FOBTs be closely-monitored to ensure they were not causing problem gambling, this has not happened. The CFG, therefore, says the only way to prevent further problems is to make them less profitable, by drastically lowering the maximum stake, removing table game content and increasing the time between gaming sessions.