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New Study by Respublica Highlights the Dangers of FOBTs
- October 16, 2017 By Oliver Young -
Fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs) have been a key point in all discussions regarding gambling and gambling-related themes in the UK in the past few years. In general, many feel that the wagering limits, i.e. the amounts that players can lose at a FOBT have to be reduced. Some have proposed very low wagering limits suggesting that players should not be able to lose more than £2 per minute or £100 per hour.
The Labour Party has revised its position when it comes to gambling and gambling regulations and the Party now feels that the UK should assume a more restrictive position and the Deputy Leader Tom Watson pledged, at the Party Conference, and on few other occasions, that if Labour wins the next General Election the party will increase the gambling taxes and will introduce additional measures in order to protect vulnerable players, in particular those who play at FOBTs.
Respublica Is a Right-Wing Think-Tank
Last year it was announced that the Government mulls the idea of altering the gambling tax rates and, of course, FOBT-regulation was one of the areas where it was expected changes to be introduced. However, the Conservative Party were never too clear on what their position is on the matter.
Now it seems that the Tories are facing pressure from Labour and they too are going to support solutions which show that they care for vulnerable punters. Recently a Tory MP mentioned a study that’s critical of FOBTs and particularly of the wagering limits. The study in question is a one conducted by Respublica, a think-tank which has strong links to the Conservative Party.
The study claims, among other things that the UK is the only developed country in the world which allows high street betting shop visitors to wager such massive amounts of money on casino-style games. Apparently, at least some Conservatives feel that the limits are too flexible and that they should be decreased.
Tory MP, Chris Philp Supports Cuts
It appears that most of those who regularly play FOBTs and at least one third of the problem gamblers in the UK earn only £10,500 or even less. Thus we reach the conclusion that it is possible for someone to lose their entire monthly salary in just 3 minutes. Another one of the study’s findings is that problem gambling is heavily linked to issues like debt, unemployment and disrupted relations in the family.
Betting companies who operate FOBTs argue that most punters play with very little amounts of money, i.e. that only a small percentage wagers the maximum available amount. However, it appears that the support for decreasing the limits has grown and that the issue appears to be a quite emotional which is why many politicians are keen on supporting it.
Chris Philp, a Tory MP is one of those who are in support of a more restrictive solution. Recently he said in a press statement that the popularisation of FOBTs was Labour Party’s fault, adding that the Tories should be more involved in the matters and that they should support a limit decrease. Philp agrees that problem gambling can harm people and communities, urging the Tory Government to cut the maximum wagering limits.