Figures released by the Fairer Gambling Campaign has shown that the amount of money gambled by people in Denton and Reddish on Fixed Odds Betting Terminals in 2012 was £49,299,553.
This equated to a £1,538,146 profit made by the companies. There are 13 betting shops and 47 Fixed Odds Betting Terminals in the constituency.
The report also showed that more than £5bn was gambled on high-speed, high-stakes gambling machines in northern, urban cities and London boroughs with high levels of unemployment last year. This is four times the amount bet in richer rural areas in southern England where jobless numbers are low, according to an analysis for the Guardian.
The figures also showed that of the top fifty unemployment blackspots in the UK, the profit from the terminals was more than £173m last year. By comparison in the 50 constituencies with the lowest levels of unemployment, the bookie’s made just £44m.
Andrew Gwynne MP said:
“The Industry is making people gamble with money they don’t have, they are preying on the vulnerable and desperate. It is very worrying that nearly £50m million was gambled here in Denton and Reddish.”
“Overall these figures conclusively demonstrate that the gaming machines are targeted at the most deprived communities in the country. Just like the pay day loan companies, the betting industry is determined to profit from poverty.”
When the 2005 Gambling Act was introduced Labour stated that it would keep Fixed Odds Betting Terminals under review. These figures provide further evidence that this review needs to take place urgently.
This review must look at stakes and speed of play. Labour also want to see Betting Shops put into their own planning use class, as they are currently in the same class as financial institutions to give local authorities more power over the number of betting shops and machines on our high streets.
The Government has scrapped the Gambling Prevalence Survey making it difficult to track the impact of these machines on problem gambling. Labour want the gambling industry to fund an annual independent survey that monitors gambling addiction across the industry.
Clive Efford, Labour’s Spokesperson on gambling said:
“These figures provide further evidence that Fixed Odds Betting Terminals are making a disproportionate amount of money from poorer households in areas with high levels of deprivation.
“When the 2005 Gambling Act was introduced the previous Government said that these machines would be kept under review. This new evidence once again highlights that the Government must urgently hold this review and look at maximum stakes, speed of play and how we licence and regulate FOBTs.”
“The scrapping of the Gambling Prevalence Survey has made it difficult to track trends in problem gambling. The gambling industry must pay for an annual independent survey to monitor the impact of FOBTs and gambling addiction across the whole industry.”