According to most recent figures, Liverpool residents are expected to generate losses amounting to over £2.5 million on notorious fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs) during the summer holiday of the Members of Parliament only. Experts have revealed that a total amount of £2,749,787 is expected to be lost by local punters on the machines during the 42-day Parliamentary recess.
New industry statistics show that players across the country will waste an estimated amount of £210 million on the high-stakes betting machines, which have been pointed as one of the main drivers of gambling addiction rates increase. In addition, according to the British Amusement Catering Trade Association (BACTA), the expected estimates demonstrate the urgent need for the highly-addictive betting machines to see a reduction of the existing maximum stake allowed to £2 without further delay.
As Casino Guardian has previously reported, the FOBTs have frequently been associated with gambling harm and problem gambling. Since the machines were introduced in Liverpool, they have led to constantly increasing gambling addiction and mind-blowing losses among local punters. The cumulative losses of Liverpool players on fixed-odds betting machines amount to £161,898,329.
The British Government has faced a lot of criticism due to the delay of the FOBT crackdown. Anti-gambling campaigners have called for the authorities to speed up the process, saying that unnecessary delay would put players in danger since it would give bookmakers the opportunity to run their fixed-odds betting machines undisturbed and spread their harmful influence even further.
FOBT Crackdown Delay Faces Fierce Criticism
Earlier in 2018, the UK Government has finally revealed its decision to slash the maximum stake allowed on FOBTs from £100 to £2. However, there have still been some concerns over the delay in the implementation of the planned changes.
According to media reports, an Early Day Motion urging the Government to proceed with the introduction of the new £2 maximum stake immediately was signed by 48 Members of Parliament, who have shared concerns about the risk of possible harm that could be inflicted on players suffering from problem gambling behaviour. However, the changes are not expected to actually happen until 2020, as local bookmakers have been given some time to adapt to the new situation.
The UK Government’s crackdown on the fixed-odds betting terminals have been a huge step forward, considering the constantly increasing gambling participation and problem gambling rates in the country. The Chief Executive Officer of BACTA, John White, has shared that the decision for the FOBT stake reduction was very important but he also reminded that the expected delay of the new rules’ implementation would mean that problem and at-risk players would remain exposed to gambling-related harm until the new legislative and regulatory framework come into effect.
According to the All Party-Parliamentary Group on the controversial machines, losses of more than £3 billion have been generated by gamblers since the decision of the country’s Government to roll out its consultation into possible maximum stake level reduction back in October 2016.