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Damaging Report Shows England’s Poorest Areas Hit Hardest by FOBTs

Those campaigning for a crackdown of the FOBTs have just received some more ammunition. A report in the Guardian sheds additional negative light on what are been blamed for social decay and gambling addiction. According to the report obtained by the Guardian over £13 billion was gambled on FOBTs in England’s poorest areas. This is more than double the amount in the richest areas.

These findings support the theory that many claim is a deliberate tactic of the UK bookmakers. The report details are to be fully released next week to parliament where measures are being considered to tackle this burning issue that has become a major political football. In 55 of the most deprived boroughs of England over £13 billion was gambled of which £470m was lost in 2013. This is in stark contrast to the £6.5 billion gambled and £231 million lost in the richer areas of the country in the same period.

For a long time the bookmakers have come under fire for exploiting low income areas where unemployment and crime are rife and punters are resorting to desperate measures in order to survive. The bookmakers of course vigorously deny these accusations. As we reported bookmakers will be implementing measures to make players aware of the dangers of excessive gambling.

Whether these will satisfy critics and the government seems unlikely. The Department for Culture, Media and Sport issued a statement saying,” Problem gambling is a serious issue and we are determined to help tackle it. The new player protection code is a positive step in the right direction, but we think more could be done. We want there to be a competitive gambling sector but not at the expense of public protection. We are currently reviewing what measures, if any, are needed concerning planning and further protection for those most vulnerable and will report back in the spring.”

As we have mentioned in previous reports, the revenues from FOBTs are huge and make up to 40% of bookmakers like Ladbrokes annual revenues. The fight to hold on to as many of these high speed cash machines is only going to get dirtier. It seems that the UK bookmakers will have to innovate and look to other global markets to compensate for the seemingly inevitable crackdown coming.

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