Call for review of ‘dreadful’ machines

First published in News

FIXED-ODDS betting machines need greater regulation, a Bolton councillor has warned.

At a meeting at Bolton Town Hall, Conservative councillor Martyn Cox asked whether the authority could do anything to halt the spread of the machines, which he branded “dreadful”.

Cllr Cox’s comments followed a report in The Bolton News that pressure group The Campaign for Fairer Gambling had claimed gamblers in the borough spent almost £190 million on fixed odds betting terminals (FOBTs) in 2012.

An FOBT is a touchscreen machine with a variety of different games, but the most popular is roulette, and it is possible to bet up to £100 each time.

In his motion, Cllr Cox, who represents Westhoughton North and Chew Moor, said that even though they were legal, a civilised society “should not be playing on people’s psychological weaknesses”.

He said: “The executive member may have seen a report reproduced in the Bolton News about fixed odds betting machines.

“The report produced by Campaign for Fair Gambling claims that more than £190 million a year is spent on fewer than 200 machines in the town with a payout rate of 97 per cent — that means over £5 million is lost.

“These machines, first introduced into bookmakers in 2001, are clearly highly addictive and are having a damaging effect on people’s finances.

“Is there anything the council can do to restrict the proliferation of the these machines?”

Cllr Nick Peel, Bolton Council's executive cabinet member for the environment, regulatory services and skills, replied: “The council, as licensing authority, is responsible for the licensing of bookmakers, and we work in partnership with the Gambling Commission, which regulates gambling activity.

“The Bolton News article is based on a report from a pressure group and their report is based on information and several assumptions from a freedom of information request.

“The Gambling Commission is preparing a national response to the pressure group report which will confirm fixed odds machines in bookmakers do not breach gambling legislation.

“I can also confirm that the Department for Culture, Media and Sport is also looking at fixed odds betting terminals as part of a review.”

Comments (5)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

10:14am Mon 25 Feb 13

I, Ludicrous says...

Oh come, come. The 'problem' doesn't lie with the machines now, does it?!
Oh come, come. The 'problem' doesn't lie with the machines now, does it?! I, Ludicrous
  • Score: 4

10:15am Mon 25 Feb 13

I, Ludicrous says...

Oh come, come. The 'problem' doesn't lie with the machines now, does it?!
Oh come, come. The 'problem' doesn't lie with the machines now, does it?! I, Ludicrous
  • Score: 1

11:12am Mon 25 Feb 13

Reed Lover says...

Again, it is very worrying that members of a Town Council are unable to gather their own information rather than use the scurrilous, deceptive hyperbole of a group that is underwritten by a senior member of the online gambling industry.
The £190 Million is simply a misrepresentation, as it represents the cumulative re-invested stakes rather than the actual amount of money put into the machines. If the £5 million is correct that represents just £68 profit per machine per day, not to be sniffed at but hardly pointing to an epidemic of losses for the public. The 97% profit margin on roulette is the mathematical result of their being 37 numbers (0-36) whilst the payout is 36. 36 as a percentage of 37 is 2.7% and this is standard to casinos all over the UK and Europe.
Nobody seems to be wringing their hands over the far more lucrative slots games on the £500 payout machines in clubs and bingo halls. Go into your local conservative club and you will see people throwing in tenner after tenner at £2 a spin whilst able to consume any amount of alcohol they want. Neither will you see evidence of any Duty of Care, warning posters about problem gambling. These clubs (and pubs) are largely unregulated but because these machines practically underwrite the costs of running these establishments nobody says anything.
Local councils themselves have allowed betting shops to proliferate by granting licences willy nilly and now they are suggesting that problem gambling might exist because of this. What a joke! The government and Gambling Commission caused this problem when it limited the amount of machines per shop to 4 rather than limiting the amount of betting shops in any given area.
And don't forget that the Government is skimming 20% off the top.
People need to take responsibility for their own actions or see their freedoms eroded. Whatever you do with your money these days us a gamble is roulette any more speculative than investing in Icelandic banks?
Again, it is very worrying that members of a Town Council are unable to gather their own information rather than use the scurrilous, deceptive hyperbole of a group that is underwritten by a senior member of the online gambling industry. The £190 Million is simply a misrepresentation, as it represents the cumulative re-invested stakes rather than the actual amount of money put into the machines. If the £5 million is correct that represents just £68 profit per machine per day, not to be sniffed at but hardly pointing to an epidemic of losses for the public. The 97% profit margin on roulette is the mathematical result of their being 37 numbers (0-36) whilst the payout is 36. 36 as a percentage of 37 is 2.7% and this is standard to casinos all over the UK and Europe. Nobody seems to be wringing their hands over the far more lucrative slots games on the £500 payout machines in clubs and bingo halls. Go into your local conservative club and you will see people throwing in tenner after tenner at £2 a spin whilst able to consume any amount of alcohol they want. Neither will you see evidence of any Duty of Care, warning posters about problem gambling. These clubs (and pubs) are largely unregulated but because these machines practically underwrite the costs of running these establishments nobody says anything. Local councils themselves have allowed betting shops to proliferate by granting licences willy nilly and now they are suggesting that problem gambling might exist because of this. What a joke! The government and Gambling Commission caused this problem when it limited the amount of machines per shop to 4 rather than limiting the amount of betting shops in any given area. And don't forget that the Government is skimming 20% off the top. People need to take responsibility for their own actions or see their freedoms eroded. Whatever you do with your money these days us a gamble is roulette any more speculative than investing in Icelandic banks? Reed Lover
  • Score: 2

12:51pm Mon 25 Feb 13

boltonnut says...

You are your own control board.
You are your own control board. boltonnut
  • Score: 2

3:32pm Mon 25 Feb 13

Reality50 says...

I am a gambler myself and use bookies a couple times a week however I live within my means. There is a saying that you only gamble what you can afford to lose but sadly many don't heed the warning. I bet on horses and the football but i never ever use the roulette machines in the bookies as i see the damage first hand they do. I saw a guy win £600 a month ago and within 8 spins he had put the lot straight back then he lost another £200. He looked almost suicidal as he walked out the shop. There needs to be a maximum £10 stake on these machines and a £200 max win. These machines are always busy but most are used by reckless gamblers who can't afford to lose what they often lose. Online gambling is even worse and housewives blowing benefits on these things such as online bingo. These late night TV shows on C5 and ITV show how easy it is to get addicted. They tell you to join and play with £100 and they double your stake free of charge. It is very tempting and dangerous. I have never done it but seen the damage it causes to others. Gambling-if not responsible-is just as dangerous as drugs,alcoholism or chain smoking. I go in the bookies with a tenner or £15 quid and win or lose I'm fine but some blow their wages and get into debt on these machines or online accounts. If you read the small print on the companies online that run these money making rackets,they are based in the Isle Of Man or the Channel Islands. Hmmm wonder why eh?
I am a gambler myself and use bookies a couple times a week however I live within my means. There is a saying that you only gamble what you can afford to lose but sadly many don't heed the warning. I bet on horses and the football but i never ever use the roulette machines in the bookies as i see the damage first hand they do. I saw a guy win £600 a month ago and within 8 spins he had put the lot straight back then he lost another £200. He looked almost suicidal as he walked out the shop. There needs to be a maximum £10 stake on these machines and a £200 max win. These machines are always busy but most are used by reckless gamblers who can't afford to lose what they often lose. Online gambling is even worse and housewives blowing benefits on these things such as online bingo. These late night TV shows on C5 and ITV show how easy it is to get addicted. They tell you to join and play with £100 and they double your stake free of charge. It is very tempting and dangerous. I have never done it but seen the damage it causes to others. Gambling-if not responsible-is just as dangerous as drugs,alcoholism or chain smoking. I go in the bookies with a tenner or £15 quid and win or lose I'm fine but some blow their wages and get into debt on these machines or online accounts. If you read the small print on the companies online that run these money making rackets,they are based in the Isle Of Man or the Channel Islands. Hmmm wonder why eh? Reality50
  • Score: 3

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree