Socialist Worker

New fixed-odds betting limit - a crackdown on the bosses that bet on misery?

by Sarah Bates
Issue No. 2605

Betting shops tell vulnerable people they should know their limits

Betting shops preach 'responsible' gambling (Pic: Alan Stanton/Flickr)

Gambling bosses are furious at new restrictions aimed at tackling the “crack cocaine” of gambling machines.

The government says it is going to slash the maximum stake from £100 to £2 on roulette machines in betting shops.

The fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs) are hugely profitable for the bosses and make them £1.8 billion every year.

The FOBTs allow money to be put in every 20 seconds, and are a favourite with people who have gambling problems.

Gambling companies have been fighting for years to keep the stake as high as possible and now the industry is threatening job losses and shop closures.

They lure people in with the promise of quick cash—but inevitably overall people lose out. In 2016 a quarter of a million people lost more than £1,000 in one sitting at a FOBT.

The government is giving the gambling companies plenty of time to pile up cash and devise new ways to make money.

The vote on new regulations is not expected until 2019, and there could be a gap before implantation after that.

It is rank hypocrisy for the Tory government to pretend to care about the welfare of ordinary people.

It is Tory austerity and attacks on jobs, health care and housing that contribute to the desperation that fuels the gambling industry’s enormous profits.

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