New Labour made a mistake in allowing addictive FOBTs – it’s right now to limit the stake to £2

It was New Labour, during its brief and bizarre flirtation with “supercasinos” as a tool for urban regeneration, that gave the green light to fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs) on the high street. The only generous interpretation is that ministers didn’t know what they doing when they set maximum stakes at £100 and spin speeds at 20 seconds.

The main game on the machines is roulette, which even irregular casino-goers know is a properly nasty game. The addictive quality lies in the high 97% return rate to the player. Yet the house’s edge is mathematically certain and, over time, a player can only lose. From the operators’ point of view, it’s the perfect product.

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