Gambling companies could have spent less energy on belligerent lobbying and more on containing the dangers of FOBTs

Gambling companies’ defence of fixed-odds betting terminals has failed. It is now odds-on that the government will cut the maximum stake from £100. How did this happen to an industry that, despite compelling evidence of social harm done by these machines, seemed to have might on its side?

The bookies were able to point to the substantial sums of tax they pay the Treasury. They warned, with justification, that thousands of employees could lose their jobs if more high-street premises were to become uneconomic to run. They argued – again, soberly – that lower stakes on the high street may drive some problem gamblers towards the wild west of the internet.

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