The major regulatory body for the UK gambling industry – the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) – has supported an investigation into the possible effects of gambling on children and more vulnerable individuals in Wakefield, West Yorkshire.
The City Council’s resolution to establish a task force to review the issue was fully backed by the Commission, which also claimed that the excessive gambling could result in a “public health concern”. The support given by the main UK gambling regulator follows a massive increase in the number of bookmakers in the district of Wakefield over the past ten years.
Reportedly, there are currently 51 high-street betting operators in the district. Back in July 2008, there were only 41 of them. For the time being, literally all the largest gambling companies, including William Hill, Ladbrokes, Coral, Paddy Power, Betfred and Megabet, have been allowed to open betting shops over the past ten years. At the same time, new bingo halls and adult gaming centres have also opened on the territory of the district.
The City Council’s probe into the matter is set to be given a start after the summer recess.
As previously reported by Casino Guardian, the UK Government announced plans to cut the maximum stake on fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs) from £100 to £2.
The Wakefield Express has reported of a recovering problem gambler residing in Wakefield who preferred to remain anonymous but called for the authorities to make sure gambling addicts are given all the necessary help they could use to deal with the possible gambling-related harm. The gambling addict explained that FOBTs were one of the main reasons for the spreading of gambling addictions in the district. He further added that the maximum stake reduction of the dangerous machines was unlikely to be of much help because people would find an alternative betting option.
FOBTs Have Been Fuelling Gambling Addiction Across UK
Fixed-odds betting terminals have been blamed for spreading gambling addictions not only in West Yorkshire and Wakefield but also nationwide. A number of charity organisations, Members of Parliaments and other anti-gambling campaigners have urged the UK Government to take more seriously the problem with spreading gambling addictions and take the necessary steps to tackle gambling-related harm.
The Government has finally decided to take some measures to reduce possible negative harm which betting on the machines could inflict on local residents, and more specifically, on more vulnerable people. Back in May, the final decision of the authorities that the maximum FOBT stake would be cut from £100 to £20 was announced.
After the decision for the FOBT clampdown was officially revealed, the Association of British Bookmakers (ABB) warned that the Government’s decision to see a reduction on gaming machines’ maximum stake was likely to end up with betting shops closures across the country, as well as massive layoffs across the industry.