Next week will see the official introduction of a motion aimed to change the way the so-called fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs) are regulated and distributed across Bradford, West Yorkshire and the rest of the UK.
Local media reported, that the city’s Full Council is going to hold a meeting during which the ruling Labour group is expected to present the formal proposal which aims to ban the operation of the “high stakes” terminals located at bookies across the country.
Opposers of the addictive gambling machines have long been working their way to put the end of their operation or at least reduce the stakes to the more reasonable sum of £2 a spin.
At the moment FOBTs are one of the biggest triggers of problem gambling in the United Kingdom and the rates of players reporting that they suffer from gambling addiction have surged ever since the introduction of the gambling machines. Due to their easy accessibility and their considerable number across the country, they have become extremely popular within the gambling field. What makes the consequences of their use so devastating, however, is the stakes they require. Players are able to bet up to £100 once every 20 seconds of play and this could lead to money losses of immense proportions.
Only in the region of Bradford, there are about 252 such machines which operate on a daily basis and according to the latest research conducted by the Campaign for Fairer Gambling, the residents of the region lost more than £10.6 million over the span of last year. This is a seriously concerning figure for the people who condemn the gambling machines and a reason enough for the proposition which is going to be put forward next week.
One of the proposers of the motion, Councillor Richard Dunbar, who is also a Deputy Executive member, stated that the players have rights, but nobody is actually protecting them and this leads to devastating results and thousands of pounds lost while playing.
What Could Fix the Current Situation?
Mr. Dunbar said that it is high time that the Council took matters into its own hands and protected the rights of players across Bradford and take action in relation to the FOBTs in the region. The response of the opposition came fast as Philip Davies, Conservative MP for Shipley who was once a bookmaker, threw accusations that the Council of Bradford is going to leave many people working in the more than 60 betting shops in the area without a job which will affect the industry in general.
According to Mr. Davies, enough evidence has not been found in support of the theory that the reduction of stakes will subsequently reduce the rates of money loss. His proposition is that local officials with help from the government focuse on treating the individuals experiencing problem gambling instead of depriving the treasury of over £7.2 million worth of local taxes from the controversial machines.