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Report Blames Playtech’s Teddy Sagi For FOBT Epidemic

The controversy surrounding fixed odds betting terminals has become a major issue with elections around the corner. Dubbed as “the crack cocaine of gambling” FOBTs are being blamed for just about any social problem facing poorer communities. The much talked about tax rise on these high speed betting machines which number 33,000 countrywide have brought out many skeletons from the past.

Much of the blame is being put on the Labour government who relaxed the gambling laws in 2001 which has resulted in FOBTs sprouting up countrywide. A report in the Daily Mail has just taken things to a new level with one of the most scathing attacks on who they believe is responsible for these machines.

Teddy Sagi is one of those names most people do not associate with pornography, crime and insider trading. He is the founder of one of the largest gambling platforms in the world Playtech. A report in the Daily Mail launches an unprecedented attack on Sagi which is nothing short of a character assassination.

According to the Daily Mail over 20,000 of the 33,000 FOBTs are run with Software developed by Playtech. In fact without this software bookmakers could never have dreamed of having gambling machines that can take bets of £100 every 20 seconds. The Mail conducted a poll in which it was found that nearly half of all potential voters would have FOBTs banned and a majority of 73 percent wanted the £100 current possible bet drastically reduced.

The report is scathing and would not make for easy reading for the young billionaire Teddy Sagi especially on Easter weekend. It goes on to cite Sagi’s history in the online porn world where he is alleged to have learnt a lot of tricks in which he implemented in FOBTs. If that’s not personal enough the article goes on to report on Sagi’s stepbrother who was convicted of the murder of an investment consultant in 1983. Sagi himself comes under fire for being arrested at the age of 22 for suspected insider trading in which he served nine months in jail.

His time in jail inspired him to realize that the future was in the internet and in 1999 invested in a company called Unlimited9 which set up pornographic sites. Sagi has since become a billionaire mainly from developing online gambling software with licencing agreements with the UK’s largest bookmakers like William Hill and Ladbrokes. He has also ventured out of the gambling world with recent business transactions that include the purchase of Camden Stables and IPO launch of online solutions provider SafeCharge.

Sagi was not available for comment when the Daily Mail attempted to get his reaction to the report. His past public statements however do seem to give fuel to those claiming that Sagi is interested in making money regardless of moral issues. He has been quoted as saying,” sex and betting are the most profitable businesses on the internet”.

While Teddy Sagi is the latest punching bag for anti-gambling voices, the overall moral issue of gambling in general has once again become an integral part of the political debate. As elections near we are bound to see things getting even dirtier.

Author: Victor

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