Sports Minister To Grant Powers To Tackle FOBT Proliferation
British newspapers are not known for their neutrality when tackling sensitive issues. In almost all topics that are controversial the different newspapers make it clear on which side of the debate they stand. This is no more apparent than with the issue of gambling and more particularly the fixed odds betting terminals which have become a daily topic of discussion amongst the media.
The Daily Mail for example is well known for its anti FOBT stance and gambling in general. One only has to read the scathing report on Playtech founder and gambling entrepreneur Teddy Sagi. In the article Sagi was crucified and was blamed for just about every woe related to gambling just because his online software platform is used by a large portion of FOBT operators.
This week there is more bad news for UK bookies as Sports Minster Helen Grant is set to give local authorities the power to prevent new betting shops on the high streets. The powers given to the local councils could seriously halt the FOBT proliferation and have serious consequences for the existing machines in use. In terms of the new regulations bookies will have to apply for special planning licences for new premises in which the council has the option to refuse should they feel there are too many in the area.
A report in the Mirror quotes Whitehall sources as saying,” Lots of people are worried about the numbers of betting shops springing up on their high streets. It’s only right to give local communities the power to object to a new betting shop if they feel they already have too many on their doorstep. The balance has to be right.”
As previously reported there are polls which show that 7 out of 10 voters would want more restrictions on FOBTs which makes the issue ideal hunting ground for politicians who are preparing for the coming elections. Other changes proposed by Grant include betting shops having to prove they have player protection measures in place and warning signs in the windows of high stakes gambling.