London Mayor Boris Johnson Weighs In On FOBT Debate
The Daily Mail has in the last few years launched a fierce campaign to tackle the problem of fixed odds betting terminals. (FOBTs). They even went on to blame the controversial Teddy Sagi who developed the software that these high speed gambling machines run on. As our readers know there are over 33,000 of FOBTs across the UK and over £1.5 billion was lost last year on these machines. This is an increase of £500 million from 2009.
As we have reported there has been constant pressure from the church to local councils for the government to reduce the current maximum stake which is £100. The latest piece to come out of the Daily Mail quotes London Mayor Boris Johnson who is calling to cut the maximum stake down to as little as £2. Johnson told the Mail that like many others he believes that the FOBTS or the “crack cocaine of gambling” preys on the vulnerable elements of society.
Johnson was quoted as saying,” Fixed odds betting machines are the scourge of our High Streets and a very bad thing for our community. They can be dangerously addictive, their promise of whopping wins only gives false hope, and they prey on the vulnerable within our society. I have urged the Government to proceed with the utmost caution when considering the maximum stakes available on these machines.”
Bookmakers have tried to open dialogue with the government to implement measures that would reduce the negative effects of these cash cows. Measures like reducing advertising in windows seem not to be nearly enough to placate the growing calls for harsh restrictions on the amounts that can be wagered.