According to recent research, Glasgow is the UK city where there are most gambling addicts on high-stake fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs) than in any other city across the country. The study showed that for the time being there are 120,000 gamblers who are hooked to FOBTs.
Moreover, the research which was carried out by the British Amusement Catering Trade Association found that Glasgow is losing more to the controversial machines than any other area in the country, as each problem gambler is costing the area some money in terms of job prospects, crime, health and other issues. As revealed by the Association which carried out the survey, problem gambling costs Glasgow £27.06 million annually, with these losses being capitalised as health expenses and job issues related with local customers’ addiction to the fixed-odds betting terminals.
As revealed by the survey, the losses rates in Birmingham were also quite serious, with more than £20 million lost in the city due to FOBTs addictions. Liverpool was next in the line, with a bit under £19 million lost due to problem gambling issues.
Recently, some market experts and analysts, along with local regulatory authorities and charity organisations have raised their concerns of the region, describing Scotland as one of the UK regions that are worst affected by FOBTs addictions. Apart from Glasgow, the cities of Edinburgh, North and South Lanarkshire have also been considered areas of increased number of problem gamblers. According to the information featured by the recent survey, Edinburgh was sixth, losing approximately £14 million, while North and South Lanarkshire came on 11th and 12th positions, with losses of about £10 million lost due to FOBTs addictions on an annual basis.
Upcoming Crackdown Could Reduce Maximum FOBTs Stake to £2
Currently, fixed-odds betting machines have been under fire for their addictiveness. The terminals allow players to place maximum bet of £100 every 20 seconds on a variety of electronic casino-like games such as blackjack, roulette and poker. However, the machines’ features, the high-speed game play and the large maximum stakes allowed became the reason why FOBTs have been pointed as one of the main reasons for constantly increasing rates of problem gambling behaviour on the territory of the UK.
Back in 2017, the Prime Minister Teresa May has promised to take some action in order to reduce the maximum stake that is allowed on the FOBTs and the Government has started consideration process about the measures to be imposed on the terminals. The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) presented the results of its review, followed by 12-week consultation period. The UK Government, however, is still expected to announce its final decision on the maximum betting limits that are to be allowed at fixed-odds betting machines.
Earlier this year, a person close to the DCMS revealed that the FOBTs crackdown was likely to end up with a maximum stake reduction to £2. As previously reported by Casino Guardian, the newly-appointd Culture Secretary Matthew Hancock is also very likely to back the amendment, despite the fact that he has been known as one of the greatest supporters of the UK betting industry.