Southampton Itchen MP John Denham has expressed his deep concern at figures recently published, that show that Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs) are making a disproportionate amount of money from areas with high levels of deprivation. He is calling on the Government to urgently act to address the situation.
Nearly £200m was gambled in Southampton last year alone by residents on FOBTs, which is a similar amount to that spent on the entire health budget of Southampton’s clinical commissioning group.
There are over 130 of these machines across the City. In 2005, the Government limited each betting shop to a maximum of four terminals.
- £100 can be bet every 20 seconds
- Of this, betting shops made a profit of just over £6m in Southampton
- Nationally, FOBTs now make up over four fifths of bookies’ turnover
John is calling on the Government to act now and for different planning regulations for betting shops. He is also calling for the gambling industry to fund an annual independent survey that monitors gambling addiction across the industry.
“No-one begrudges people a bit of fun, but the Government needs to act urgently. It is not without cause that these machines have been described as the ‘crack cocaine’ of the gambling world by experts. There is no doubt in my mind that some people must be gambling more than they can afford in these tough economic times.
“I also support the calls for Betting Shops to be put into their own planning use class. They are currently treated as financial institutions which seems unsuitable.
“The figures spent are quite shocking, particularly when looking at how little is made in over the counter betting in comparison.
“The review needs to look at the maximum stake per game which is currently £100, the speed of play, and the maximum number allowed in each shop.”