We need to crack down on High Street gambling

Echo: Ian Gilbert Ian Gilbert

A LEADING councillor has welcomed a move to give councils powers to crack down on gambling machines which allow people to bet up to £18,000 an hour.

Ian Gilbert, leader of Southend Council’s Labour group, spoke after Ed Miliband revealed plans to allow councils to control the opening of new betting shops and the number of fixed odds betting terminals in their area.

Mr Gilbert, who is a councillor for Victoria ward, calculated there were 19 betting shops in the Rochford and Southend East constituency and 11 in Southend West – with 120 fixed odds machines in them.

People can bet up to £300 a minute or £18,000 an hour on those terminals.

Mr Gilbert, who is also Labour parliamentary candidate for Rochford and Southend East, said: “Gambling can be a fun pastime for millions of people and indeed I gamble from time to time myself, so I am not a moral puritan on the issue.

“However, over the past few years the proliferation of betting shops, gambling adverts, personalised gambling platforms and fixed odds betting terminals has contributed to an ever-growing gambling addiction problem.

“The clustering of betting shops can cause enormous harm to our community, this is why I’m backing Ed Miliband’s plans to empower local people and local authorities to decide whether they want betting shops and fixed odd betting terminals on their high streets.

“The time has come to give local people and local authorities the right to decide if they want their high streets to be the place for high stakes, high speed and high cost gambling.”

Mr Gilbert cited Southend High Street as an area where a particularly large number of betting shops were clustered.

The Liberal Democrats also voted to give councils the power to ban the machines at their party conference in September.

Graham Longley, Southend’s Lib Dem leader, said the former Labour government’s relaxed gambling laws allowed the machines to be introduced in the first place.

He said: “If they’d taken responsibility in the first place they wouldn’t have to commit to this. It probably isn’t something to get excited about as knowing Labour it will probably never get done.”

Southend Council’s deputy leader John Lamb says he thinks people have a right to gamble, but would also welcome more powers being given to local authorities to limit the number of betting shops in towns.

He added: “We could do with some guidance from the Government on how many are acceptable in one area, and if we had powers to say there are too many in one place, like we can with cafes, that would be helpful.”

Comments (15)

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1:12pm Thu 2 Jan 14

BrianOtridge says...

These insidious fixed-odds gambling machines are a menace. Often, the people who use them fund their habit with PayDay loans, and then end themselves up in enormous debt that they are unable to pay. If they have a family as well, then it is a double tragedy.

In Hampshire, UKIP Councillors are fighting the same battle to get local control over these machines, In both Hampshire and Southend, the Tories don't see it as a problem, doubtless pleased at the profits the gambling operators will enjoy, but they are not considering the human cost, and ultimately cost to the public purse when the bankrupt family falls onto social security for help.

At the end of the day, these kind of machines should be restricted to member-only casinos, where the credit-worthiness of members can be checked by the management before allowing them an account.
These insidious fixed-odds gambling machines are a menace. Often, the people who use them fund their habit with PayDay loans, and then end themselves up in enormous debt that they are unable to pay. If they have a family as well, then it is a double tragedy. In Hampshire, UKIP Councillors are fighting the same battle to get local control over these machines, In both Hampshire and Southend, the Tories don't see it as a problem, doubtless pleased at the profits the gambling operators will enjoy, but they are not considering the human cost, and ultimately cost to the public purse when the bankrupt family falls onto social security for help. At the end of the day, these kind of machines should be restricted to member-only casinos, where the credit-worthiness of members can be checked by the management before allowing them an account. BrianOtridge

1:23pm Thu 2 Jan 14

fletch12107 says...

Does anyone really think that by restricting fixed odds machines it will stop compulsive gamblers from betting. Address the real problem which is the people themselves.
Does anyone really think that by restricting fixed odds machines it will stop compulsive gamblers from betting. Address the real problem which is the people themselves. fletch12107

1:40pm Thu 2 Jan 14

whataday says...

£18,000 an hour. Thats a chuffing great profit margin. If the owners of these machines are paying 50% income tax on that little lot no wonder the govt. isn't really interested in doing anything about it.
The people that use these machines would be better off buying one and installing it at home.

I say the above with tongue in cheek but being addicted to gambling on machines like these and the knock-on effect is a really serious problem
£18,000 an hour. Thats a chuffing great profit margin. If the owners of these machines are paying 50% income tax on that little lot no wonder the govt. isn't really interested in doing anything about it. The people that use these machines would be better off buying one and installing it at home. I say the above with tongue in cheek but being addicted to gambling on machines like these and the knock-on effect is a really serious problem whataday

2:12pm Thu 2 Jan 14

Nebs says...

BrianOtridge wrote:
These insidious fixed-odds gambling machines are a menace. Often, the people who use them fund their habit with PayDay loans, and then end themselves up in enormous debt that they are unable to pay. If they have a family as well, then it is a double tragedy.

In Hampshire, UKIP Councillors are fighting the same battle to get local control over these machines, In both Hampshire and Southend, the Tories don't see it as a problem, doubtless pleased at the profits the gambling operators will enjoy, but they are not considering the human cost, and ultimately cost to the public purse when the bankrupt family falls onto social security for help.

At the end of the day, these kind of machines should be restricted to member-only casinos, where the credit-worthiness of members can be checked by the management before allowing them an account.
If you are going to make this political, please remind us who relaxed the gambling laws that allowed these machines in the betting shops.
[quote][p][bold]BrianOtridge[/bold] wrote: These insidious fixed-odds gambling machines are a menace. Often, the people who use them fund their habit with PayDay loans, and then end themselves up in enormous debt that they are unable to pay. If they have a family as well, then it is a double tragedy. In Hampshire, UKIP Councillors are fighting the same battle to get local control over these machines, In both Hampshire and Southend, the Tories don't see it as a problem, doubtless pleased at the profits the gambling operators will enjoy, but they are not considering the human cost, and ultimately cost to the public purse when the bankrupt family falls onto social security for help. At the end of the day, these kind of machines should be restricted to member-only casinos, where the credit-worthiness of members can be checked by the management before allowing them an account.[/p][/quote]If you are going to make this political, please remind us who relaxed the gambling laws that allowed these machines in the betting shops. Nebs

2:24pm Thu 2 Jan 14

Richas says...

There has been no rise in Problem Gambling since 1999. These machines first went into bookies in 2001 and the number has been stable now for several years. They were regulated by the 2005 Act but they already existed then.

The Problem Gambling rate was
1999 - 0.6% (both measures)
2007 - 0.6% (both measures)
2010 - 0.7% or 0.9% (depending upon which measure is used)
2012 - 0.4% or 0.5% (depending upon which measure used)

There is some evidence that the economic crisis meant more people having problems with their gambling but the prevalence surveys clearly show that the introduction of FOBTs has not seen an increase in Problem Gambling.

If these machines are restricted in Southend bookmakers the only people to benefit will be the Southend casinos who can have similar games at higher stakes played by people with a drink in hand after the pubs close.
There has been no rise in Problem Gambling since 1999. These machines first went into bookies in 2001 and the number has been stable now for several years. They were regulated by the 2005 Act but they already existed then. The Problem Gambling rate was 1999 - 0.6% (both measures) 2007 - 0.6% (both measures) 2010 - 0.7% or 0.9% (depending upon which measure is used) 2012 - 0.4% or 0.5% (depending upon which measure used) There is some evidence that the economic crisis meant more people having problems with their gambling but the prevalence surveys clearly show that the introduction of FOBTs has not seen an increase in Problem Gambling. If these machines are restricted in Southend bookmakers the only people to benefit will be the Southend casinos who can have similar games at higher stakes played by people with a drink in hand after the pubs close. Richas

3:04pm Thu 2 Jan 14

Jack222 says...

Fools and their money are soon parted. Why waste time on compulsive gamblers who will quickly find another way to lose their money...
Fools and their money are soon parted. Why waste time on compulsive gamblers who will quickly find another way to lose their money... Jack222

3:29pm Thu 2 Jan 14

profondo asbo says...

the labour party would clearly prefer boarded up shops, mobile phone unlocking or even worse, more 99p stores
the labour party would clearly prefer boarded up shops, mobile phone unlocking or even worse, more 99p stores profondo asbo

3:36pm Thu 2 Jan 14

profondo asbo says...

Jack222 wrote:
Fools and their money are soon parted. Why waste time on compulsive gamblers who will quickly find another way to lose their money...
can we take it as read that you're broke?
[quote][p][bold]Jack222[/bold] wrote: Fools and their money are soon parted. Why waste time on compulsive gamblers who will quickly find another way to lose their money...[/p][/quote]can we take it as read that you're broke? profondo asbo

4:26pm Thu 2 Jan 14

John Bull 40 says...

BrianOtridge wrote:
These insidious fixed-odds gambling machines are a menace. Often, the people who use them fund their habit with PayDay loans, and then end themselves up in enormous debt that they are unable to pay. If they have a family as well, then it is a double tragedy.

In Hampshire, UKIP Councillors are fighting the same battle to get local control over these machines, In both Hampshire and Southend, the Tories don't see it as a problem, doubtless pleased at the profits the gambling operators will enjoy, but they are not considering the human cost, and ultimately cost to the public purse when the bankrupt family falls onto social security for help.

At the end of the day, these kind of machines should be restricted to member-only casinos, where the credit-worthiness of members can be checked by the management before allowing them an account.
Which casinos check your credit-worthiness then?
[quote][p][bold]BrianOtridge[/bold] wrote: These insidious fixed-odds gambling machines are a menace. Often, the people who use them fund their habit with PayDay loans, and then end themselves up in enormous debt that they are unable to pay. If they have a family as well, then it is a double tragedy. In Hampshire, UKIP Councillors are fighting the same battle to get local control over these machines, In both Hampshire and Southend, the Tories don't see it as a problem, doubtless pleased at the profits the gambling operators will enjoy, but they are not considering the human cost, and ultimately cost to the public purse when the bankrupt family falls onto social security for help. At the end of the day, these kind of machines should be restricted to member-only casinos, where the credit-worthiness of members can be checked by the management before allowing them an account.[/p][/quote]Which casinos check your credit-worthiness then? John Bull 40

4:48pm Thu 2 Jan 14

Keptquiettillnow says...

Unless I am remembering wrongly wasn't it under Labour when the Super Casino's where being banded around?
Trying to stop more betting shops is a bit late in the day, there are already more than enough.
Horse has already bolted me thinks
Unless I am remembering wrongly wasn't it under Labour when the Super Casino's where being banded around? Trying to stop more betting shops is a bit late in the day, there are already more than enough. Horse has already bolted me thinks Keptquiettillnow

6:48pm Thu 2 Jan 14

InTheKnowOk says...

They don't have any qualms in agreeing to casino's being built in the area though
They don't have any qualms in agreeing to casino's being built in the area though InTheKnowOk

2:24pm Fri 3 Jan 14

Nebs says...

profondo asbo wrote:
the labour party would clearly prefer boarded up shops, mobile phone unlocking or even worse, more 99p stores
It was the labour party that changed the gambling laws to allow these machines in betting shops in the first place. They are bad news for anyone addicted to them. The bookies won't close down, they will just have to get back to taking bets on horses and dogs.
[quote][p][bold]profondo asbo[/bold] wrote: the labour party would clearly prefer boarded up shops, mobile phone unlocking or even worse, more 99p stores[/p][/quote]It was the labour party that changed the gambling laws to allow these machines in betting shops in the first place. They are bad news for anyone addicted to them. The bookies won't close down, they will just have to get back to taking bets on horses and dogs. Nebs

4:18pm Fri 3 Jan 14

Dr Martin says...

Nebs wrote:
profondo asbo wrote:
the labour party would clearly prefer boarded up shops, mobile phone unlocking or even worse, more 99p stores
It was the labour party that changed the gambling laws to allow these machines in betting shops in the first place. They are bad news for anyone addicted to them. The bookies won't close down, they will just have to get back to taking bets on horses and dogs.
http://www.bournemou
thecho.co.uk/news/10
912808.Large_amount_
of_cannabis_discover
ed_at_address_in_Poo
le/?ref=rss
[quote][p][bold]Nebs[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]profondo asbo[/bold] wrote: the labour party would clearly prefer boarded up shops, mobile phone unlocking or even worse, more 99p stores[/p][/quote]It was the labour party that changed the gambling laws to allow these machines in betting shops in the first place. They are bad news for anyone addicted to them. The bookies won't close down, they will just have to get back to taking bets on horses and dogs.[/p][/quote]http://www.bournemou thecho.co.uk/news/10 912808.Large_amount_ of_cannabis_discover ed_at_address_in_Poo le/?ref=rss Dr Martin

7:43pm Fri 3 Jan 14

profondo asbo says...

Nebs wrote:
profondo asbo wrote:
the labour party would clearly prefer boarded up shops, mobile phone unlocking or even worse, more 99p stores
It was the labour party that changed the gambling laws to allow these machines in betting shops in the first place. They are bad news for anyone addicted to them. The bookies won't close down, they will just have to get back to taking bets on horses and dogs.
good point but wasted on most that occupy these threads.
[quote][p][bold]Nebs[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]profondo asbo[/bold] wrote: the labour party would clearly prefer boarded up shops, mobile phone unlocking or even worse, more 99p stores[/p][/quote]It was the labour party that changed the gambling laws to allow these machines in betting shops in the first place. They are bad news for anyone addicted to them. The bookies won't close down, they will just have to get back to taking bets on horses and dogs.[/p][/quote]good point but wasted on most that occupy these threads. profondo asbo

11:58am Sat 4 Jan 14

UK-21.org says...

Richas wrote:
There has been no rise in Problem Gambling since 1999. These machines first went into bookies in 2001 and the number has been stable now for several years. They were regulated by the 2005 Act but they already existed then.

The Problem Gambling rate was
1999 - 0.6% (both measures)
2007 - 0.6% (both measures)
2010 - 0.7% or 0.9% (depending upon which measure is used)
2012 - 0.4% or 0.5% (depending upon which measure used)

There is some evidence that the economic crisis meant more people having problems with their gambling but the prevalence surveys clearly show that the introduction of FOBTs has not seen an increase in Problem Gambling.

If these machines are restricted in Southend bookmakers the only people to benefit will be the Southend casinos who can have similar games at higher stakes played by people with a drink in hand after the pubs close.
The stats quoted here are of questionable value in the debate. What do they actually refer to? 0.5% of what - those that gamble, those that took part in surveys or the adult population as a whole? Another issue is the definition of "Problem Gambling" - I suspect that these figures only refer to the extreme end of the scale (ie those with compulsive behavioural disorders) and don't include those with moderate problem gambling issues, ie those where the results of their gambling are not necessarily financial.

The survey published recently around Health of the Nation 2012 didn't even ask questions around the frequency of gambling of those that took part in the survey on gambling behaviour connected with it.

Anyone who has studied the subject at any length usually concedes that more than 0.5% of those who gamble regularly are "problem gamblers" (however you choose to define it).

UK-21
www.uk-21.org
[quote][p][bold]Richas[/bold] wrote: There has been no rise in Problem Gambling since 1999. These machines first went into bookies in 2001 and the number has been stable now for several years. They were regulated by the 2005 Act but they already existed then. The Problem Gambling rate was 1999 - 0.6% (both measures) 2007 - 0.6% (both measures) 2010 - 0.7% or 0.9% (depending upon which measure is used) 2012 - 0.4% or 0.5% (depending upon which measure used) There is some evidence that the economic crisis meant more people having problems with their gambling but the prevalence surveys clearly show that the introduction of FOBTs has not seen an increase in Problem Gambling. If these machines are restricted in Southend bookmakers the only people to benefit will be the Southend casinos who can have similar games at higher stakes played by people with a drink in hand after the pubs close.[/p][/quote]The stats quoted here are of questionable value in the debate. What do they actually refer to? 0.5% of what - those that gamble, those that took part in surveys or the adult population as a whole? Another issue is the definition of "Problem Gambling" - I suspect that these figures only refer to the extreme end of the scale (ie those with compulsive behavioural disorders) and don't include those with moderate problem gambling issues, ie those where the results of their gambling are not necessarily financial. The survey published recently around Health of the Nation 2012 didn't even ask questions around the frequency of gambling of those that took part in the survey on gambling behaviour connected with it. Anyone who has studied the subject at any length usually concedes that more than 0.5% of those who gamble regularly are "problem gamblers" (however you choose to define it). UK-21 www.uk-21.org UK-21.org

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