A CAMPAIGN to limit the number of fixed odds betting machines in bookmakers has been launched in a bid to persuade more MPs to support the cause.
The Campaign for Fairer Gambling unveiled its new “Stop the FOBTs” website in Westminster on Monday.
The move follows figures released in January revealing that gamblers in Bolton spent almost £190 million on the fixed odds betting terminals (FOBTs) in 2012.
The website allows users to see estimates of how many machines there are in their area — split into parliamentary constituencies — and how much was spent.
The most cash was spent in Bolton South East, which includes Farnworth, Great Lever and Kearsley, with £94,806,833 being fed into 91 machines.
Gamblers in Bolton North East spent £53,091,827 on 51 machines in areas including Astley Bridge, Bradshaw, Breightmet and Halliwell.
Bolton West had the lowest ‘spend’ with £41,715,007 going into 40 machines in Horwich, Westhoughton, Heaton, Blackrod and Atherton, taking the overall total in Bolton to £189,613,667.
Bolton South East MP Yasmin Qureshi, who is supporting the campaign, has in the past accused bookmakers of exploiting deprived areas like Farnworth.
She said she was very concerned by the figures.
“The national figures appear to show that bookmakers are deliberately targeting poorer areas with the highest levels of deprivation — areas where people simply cannot afford to lose this money,” she said.
Campaign founder Derek Webb addressed MPs at Monday’s launch.
Mr Webb said: “We need to Stop the FOBTs tomorrow, not after the next general election, not after FOBT gamblers have lost about another £4 billion, not after Treasury has taken FOBT direct tax of about another £800 million, not after FOBT problem gamblers have lost about another £1 billion.”
An FOBT is a touchscreen machine with a variety of different games, but the most popular is roulette.
The time between spins on roulette is about 20 seconds, and it is possible to bet up to £100 each time.
For more information go to stopthefobts.