The Coatbridge-based recovering problem gambler Martin Paterson joined a campaign that calls the Government to initiate further changes in the UK Gambling industry.
The 58-year-old former compulsive gambler confessed he became addicted to fixed-odds betting terminal (FOBTs) more than a decade ago, in 2005. He revealed that he used to spend the amount of £100 on a daily basis to fuel his addiction for years.
Mr. Paterson shared his hopes that the UK Government report that is expected to be published until the end of October is to bring certain amendments to the current country’s legislation that would prevent players from losing hundreds of pounds in a minute when playing on the FOBTs. The machines have caused a lot of controversy in the industry, with heated discussions being held over their highly-addictive character.
Apart from sharing his own heartbreaking story and revealing his former gambling habits of spending between £50 and £100 on a daily basis, he also talked to local media about the seriousness of gambling addictions and the serious negative effect that fixed-odds betting machines could have on a gambler’s life.
Recent reports have showed that over £1 billion has been spent on the FOBTs since 2008, and only Lanarkshire alone has seen the massive amount of £89 million lost on the machines. Now, after he has managed to recover from his FOBTs gambling addiction, MR. Paterson has joined forces with other former problem gamblers to call the UK Government to roll-out stricter gambling legislation that could cause severe turmoil in the UK gambling market and change the local gambling industry forever.
The campaigners call for removal of FOBTs from the high-street betting shops, implementation of stricter regulation on gambling advertising on the TV, as well as for improvement in the local customers’ literacy and awareness of possible negative effects of gambling.
Scottish Players’ Deteriorating Problem Gambling Issues
As Casino Guardian has reported on a multiple occasions, problem gambling has become a major issue in the UK gambling industry over the last few years, especially when fixed-odds betting terminals are concerned.
The large stakes allowed combined with the highly-addictive nature of the machines have been among the main reasons why criticism has been piling up on FOBTs by the hour. Scotland, on the other hand, has emerged as one of the regions of the country with the highest levels of betting and gambling involvement. As we have revealed in September, according to a new study initiated by the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC), more than half of the adults in the region are involved in gambling activities every year.
The research, which goal was to examine gambling on the territory of Scotland, Wales and nine regions in England, showed that about 68% of the Scottish residents have placed bets over the last 12 months. In comparison, 52% of the London residents have placed bets over the same period, while the national average amounted to 63%.
What is more, Scottish residents were registered as the most active in online betting on a sports betting website, with about 10% of the people placing such bets in comparison to 7% across the rest of the UK. And as far as fixed-odds betting machines located in bookmakers’ shops are concerned, 5% of the adults in Yorkshire, Scotland and the east part of England placed bets on them, compared to a national average of 3%.
As mentioned above, the Government is due to officially present its gambling industry-wide report by the end of the month. The authorities are expected to take more serious measures in terms of both fixed-odds betting terminals and gambling advertising in order to tackle problem gambling and raise local residents’ awareness of betting-related harm.