Bolton spends £35.5 million on gambling machines

The Bolton News: Fixed odds gaming machines are popular in Bolton Fixed odds gaming machines are popular in Bolton

MOVES to set limits on the amount of time and money spent on gaming machines have been welcomed after new figures revealed that Bolton’s gamblers spent almost £35.5 million on them.

Conservative councillor Martyn Cox, who has branded the machines “dreadful”, warned that if the industry did not uphold the new code of conduct, new laws could be introduced.

The Campaign for Fairer Gambling estimates that £35,494,762 was staked on the Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs) — a touchscreen machine with a variety of different games — in Bolton alone.

The most popular is roulette and it is possible to bet up to £100 each time.

Under the new code of conduct launched by the industry, staff will be alerted when the set limit is reached and the machine will alert the customer and force a 30-second break in play.

The technology to enable the new measures is being installed on 33,000 machines across England and Wales, although testing and installation require-ments means it will take up to six months.

Cllr Cox, who has raised the issue of gambling machines at Bolton Council meetings, said: “I would much rather the industry regulate itself than the government.

“There are cases where the government does need to protect people, but I would rather the industry did it first.

“These machines are not illegal and there is a clearly an opportunity in Bolton and across the country to work with the industry.”

The Association of British Bookmakers (ABB) said the code had the “full support” of the gambling industry.

Chief executive Dirk Vennix said: “The code will help give players more control and encourage responsible gambling.

“It forms part of the industry’s proactive efforts to be socially responsible, to tackle problem gambling and to ensure a duty of care towards every customer.”

Bolton is in the top 55 deprived boroughs in the country and statistics collated show that there are around 8,932 people who play the machines, with an average of about £755 lost per player per year.

Comments (3)

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1:29pm Tue 18 Mar 14

Superfly79 says...

Been saying for years these machines are very dangerous. I have lost count of the number of people I have witnessed lose hundreds of pounds in a matter of minutes and It is sickening to watch.

I welcome anything that encourages responsible gambling, however I don't think these measures will truly address the root cause of the problem. In reality Joe Public can simply just walk into any bookmakers and play on these machines 9am until 10pm everyday of the week. While it is that straight forward these machines will always cause problems. Plus I have it on good authority that Bookmakers make the majority of their in shop profits solely from these machines. This explains the huge increase in Bookmakers opening across the UK. Sad but true.
Been saying for years these machines are very dangerous. I have lost count of the number of people I have witnessed lose hundreds of pounds in a matter of minutes and It is sickening to watch. I welcome anything that encourages responsible gambling, however I don't think these measures will truly address the root cause of the problem. In reality Joe Public can simply just walk into any bookmakers and play on these machines 9am until 10pm everyday of the week. While it is that straight forward these machines will always cause problems. Plus I have it on good authority that Bookmakers make the majority of their in shop profits solely from these machines. This explains the huge increase in Bookmakers opening across the UK. Sad but true. Superfly79
  • Score: 3

4:11pm Wed 19 Mar 14

Anon9999 says...

An article that completely contradicts itself. Amounts staked does not equal the amount of money going into a terminal.

Do everyone a favour and take some time to understand what you're reporting about before compiling this factually incorrect, sensationalist drivel
An article that completely contradicts itself. Amounts staked does not equal the amount of money going into a terminal. Do everyone a favour and take some time to understand what you're reporting about before compiling this factually incorrect, sensationalist drivel Anon9999
  • Score: 0

4:12pm Wed 19 Mar 14

Anon9999 says...

** Headline says £35.5m lost per year and then the last paragraph says that 8,932 people on average lost £755. You don't need to be an accountant to realise the two numbers are vastly different.
** Headline says £35.5m lost per year and then the last paragraph says that 8,932 people on average lost £755. You don't need to be an accountant to realise the two numbers are vastly different. Anon9999
  • Score: 0

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