Friday October 25,2013 : BRITISH P.M. TO CONSIDER F.O.B.T. GAMBLING REVIEW
Cameron under pressure during Prime Minister's Questions
The contentious subject of Fixed Odds Betting Terminals in retail betting shops was raised in Prime Minister's Questions in the UK Commons this week, with Labour MP Tom Watson suggesting that the machines were addictive and should be the subject of a review.
According to BBC reports the PM's response was couched in rather vague political language, but in essence he agreed that a "proper look" was necessary. The Beeb quoted PM David Cameron as responding:
“I do think it is worth having a proper look at this issue, to see what we can do to make sure that, yes, we have bookmakers that are not over-regulated, but on the other hand, a fair approach and a decent approach that prevents problem gambling.”
Claims have proliferated in recent months that FOBTs increase the risk of problem gambling, are overly profitable and are often situated in areas where unemployment and poverty are rampant.
The BBC report estimates that the machines, situated in retail betting shops, account for almost half of major bookmakers’ annual profits despite each shop being limited to four terminals.
Earlier this year the government's Department of Culture Media and Sport studied the FOBT issue and concluded that there was potential for the machines to increase the risk of problem gambling, although there was insufficient data to indicate what impact on compulsive gambling a reduction in FOBT action would make.
The Department recommended that operators provide facilities for players to set minimum wagering and loss limits at the start of each betting session.