Control spread of betting machines

Ian Gilbert, leader of Southend Council's Labour group

Ian Gilbert, leader of Southend Council's Labour group

First published in News by

CALLS have been made for new powers to be introduced to control the spread of betting machines dubbed the “crack cocaine of gambling”.

Ian Gilbert, leader of Southend Council’s Labour group and Parliamentary candidate for Rochford and Southend East, has called for new powers so local authorities can limit the number of fixed odds betting terminals, which allow gamblers to bet up to £300 a minute on high streets.

There are 19 betting shops in the Rochford and Southend East area and 11 in Southend West, with an estimated 120 terminals where people can bet up to £18,000 an hour.

Mr Gilbert said: “Gambling can be a fun pastime for millions of people.

“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 Labour leader Ed Miliband’s plans to empower local people and local authorities to decide whether they want betting shops and fixed odds 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.”

Matt Zarb-Cousin, of Southend, is one of the founder members of the Campaign for Fairer Gambling. He fears the opportunity to gamble so much money so quickly in high street betting shops is normalising activities usually confined to casinos and contributing to gambling addiction.

He said: “We are the only country in the world that allows stakes of up to £100 on the high street.

“They don’t belong on the high street. They are casino gaming machines.”

Mr Zarb-Cousin backed the call for councils to get more powers – but went further, calling on the Government to force betting shops to lower maximum stakes.

He said: “I support new powers, but I think there is no reason betting shops should have gaming machines with stakes above £2.

“If you give local authorities the power to limit them, that’s great, but central Government should reduce the maximum stakes.”

Comments (12)

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8:06am Sat 8 Feb 14

DogsMessInLeigh says...

They have slipped in the backdoor slowly over time like a killer disease.
They have slipped in the backdoor slowly over time like a killer disease. DogsMessInLeigh
  • Score: 4

8:11am Sat 8 Feb 14

Keptquiettillnow says...

DogsMessInLeigh wrote:
They have slipped in the backdoor slowly over time like a killer disease.
Very true, betting shops really are everywhere now.
[quote][p][bold]DogsMessInLeigh[/bold] wrote: They have slipped in the backdoor slowly over time like a killer disease.[/p][/quote]Very true, betting shops really are everywhere now. Keptquiettillnow
  • Score: 3

9:27am Sat 8 Feb 14

scrounger‎ says...

These machines are an idiot tax that you don't have to pay, why take them away so we have to pay the extra tax instead of the idiots? Also don't forget that empty shops don't pay rates so someone else will have to.
These machines are an idiot tax that you don't have to pay, why take them away so we have to pay the extra tax instead of the idiots? Also don't forget that empty shops don't pay rates so someone else will have to. scrounger‎
  • Score: 5

11:01am Sat 8 Feb 14

DogsMessInLeigh says...

scrounger‎ wrote:
These machines are an idiot tax that you don't have to pay, why take them away so we have to pay the extra tax instead of the idiots? Also don't forget that empty shops don't pay rates so someone else will have to.
But don't some of these idiots take from the non-idiots when they get desperate....and out of control gamblers can get very very desperate and cause carnage in their wake.
[quote][p][bold]scrounger‎[/bold] wrote: These machines are an idiot tax that you don't have to pay, why take them away so we have to pay the extra tax instead of the idiots? Also don't forget that empty shops don't pay rates so someone else will have to.[/p][/quote]But don't some of these idiots take from the non-idiots when they get desperate....and out of control gamblers can get very very desperate and cause carnage in their wake. DogsMessInLeigh
  • Score: 0

11:36am Sat 8 Feb 14

profondo asbo says...

boarded up shops and 99p stores are clearly preferable. next these people will be trying to regulate how we wipe our backsides.
boarded up shops and 99p stores are clearly preferable. next these people will be trying to regulate how we wipe our backsides. profondo asbo
  • Score: 2

2:27pm Sat 8 Feb 14

Howard Cháse says...

profondo asbo wrote:
boarded up shops and 99p stores are clearly preferable. next these people will be trying to regulate how we wipe our backsides.
Not forgetting high street fences oops I mean pawnbrokers shops
[quote][p][bold]profondo asbo[/bold] wrote: boarded up shops and 99p stores are clearly preferable. next these people will be trying to regulate how we wipe our backsides.[/p][/quote]Not forgetting high street fences oops I mean pawnbrokers shops Howard Cháse
  • Score: 1

5:30pm Sat 8 Feb 14

John Bull 40 says...

If I wanted a domineering nanny I would hire one, vote Labour for a controlled
existence.
If I wanted a domineering nanny I would hire one, vote Labour for a controlled existence. John Bull 40
  • Score: 0

8:36pm Sat 8 Feb 14

ThisYear says...

profondo asbo wrote:
boarded up shops and 99p stores are clearly preferable. next these people will be trying to regulate how we wipe our backsides.
Brother can you spare another takeaway
[quote][p][bold]profondo asbo[/bold] wrote: boarded up shops and 99p stores are clearly preferable. next these people will be trying to regulate how we wipe our backsides.[/p][/quote]Brother can you spare another takeaway ThisYear
  • Score: 1

12:45pm Sun 9 Feb 14

RichasAA says...

A few dull facts.

Matt is is not a "founder member" he is a paid lobbyist for the campaign.

The Gambling Commission tell us that bookmaker numbers ave been stable over the past five years. There is no big growth in bookie numbers.

Problem gambling has been researched since before these machines began (2001). Prevalence Surveys in 1999, 2007, 2010 and now a health survey asking the same questions in 2012 measured the rate of problem gambling. The surveys used two measures to assess problem gambling rates.

In 1999 the Problem Gambling rate was 0.6% (both measures).
In 2007 the Problem Gambling rate was 0.6% (both measures).
In 2010 the Problem Gambling rate was 0.7% or 0.9%.
In 2012 the Problem Gambling rate was 0.4% or 0.5%.

It is just not true to claim that there is an "ever-growing gambling addiction problem." The evidence is that it is a terrible problem for some but not that it is growing. Addicts need help not restrictions on the rest of us.
A few dull facts. Matt is is not a "founder member" he is a paid lobbyist for the campaign. The Gambling Commission tell us that bookmaker numbers ave been stable over the past five years. There is no big growth in bookie numbers. Problem gambling has been researched since before these machines began (2001). Prevalence Surveys in 1999, 2007, 2010 and now a health survey asking the same questions in 2012 measured the rate of problem gambling. The surveys used two measures to assess problem gambling rates. In 1999 the Problem Gambling rate was 0.6% (both measures). In 2007 the Problem Gambling rate was 0.6% (both measures). In 2010 the Problem Gambling rate was 0.7% or 0.9%. In 2012 the Problem Gambling rate was 0.4% or 0.5%. It is just not true to claim that there is an "ever-growing gambling addiction problem." The evidence is that it is a terrible problem for some but not that it is growing. Addicts need help not restrictions on the rest of us. RichasAA
  • Score: 0

9:24pm Mon 10 Feb 14

claresimon says...

What is nothing short of scandalous are the number of mistruth and downright lies that are being stated as fact on this issue, by media, politicians and campaigners with seriously questionable motives.

(1) just to be clear, customers in betting shops can and do place bets of any amount they want on football or horse racing etc, so for Matt Zarb-Cousin to say that “We are the only country in the world that allows stakes of up to £100 on the high street." is just laughable and very much in keeping with his jaundiced view on betting shops.

(2) The potential to lose £18,000 per hour on machines is akin to winning the National Lottery three weeks running....in other words a complete and utter joke! The machines return on average 97% of stake on every spin, and on average we make less than a £10 an hour from each machine. Does that put the £18,000 per hour stat in perspective?

(3) The number of betting shops in the UK has hardly changed in the last five years. The sad fact is that thanks to the growth of supermarkets and industrial parks, plus the worst recession in over 80 years, the high street has lost its smaller businesses enabling a range of other retailers to be able to afford the cheaper rents to move into these more prominent positions. Most of the betting shops appearing on high streets are not new and have actually moved from less prominent side streets, basements etc. They are well designed, brightly lit and pleasant environments for customers and in no way devalue or denigrate the high streets that they have moved to.

(4) Problem gambling is a serious issue but not the worsening one that these chancers would have you believe. All the evidence available says that the number of problem gamblers has in no way increased over the last decade, indeed it would suggest that it has actually decreased. Whatever the stats, one problem gambler is one too many, and the heavily regulated betting industry is taking even more steps to exercise its responsibility to customers by introducing more harm minimisation measures and player protection polices through technological improvements to gaming machines and extensive staff training.

Take much of what you read on this issue with a pinch of salt. The betting industry is heavily regulated, takes its social responsibilities extremely seriously, provides employment to thousands of people, and delivers a professional and entertaining service to millions of people every week.
What is nothing short of scandalous are the number of mistruth and downright lies that are being stated as fact on this issue, by media, politicians and campaigners with seriously questionable motives. (1) just to be clear, customers in betting shops can and do place bets of any amount they want on football or horse racing etc, so for Matt Zarb-Cousin to say that “We are the only country in the world that allows stakes of up to £100 on the high street." is just laughable and very much in keeping with his jaundiced view on betting shops. (2) The potential to lose £18,000 per hour on machines is akin to winning the National Lottery three weeks running....in other words a complete and utter joke! The machines return on average 97% of stake on every spin, and on average we make less than a £10 an hour from each machine. Does that put the £18,000 per hour stat in perspective? (3) The number of betting shops in the UK has hardly changed in the last five years. The sad fact is that thanks to the growth of supermarkets and industrial parks, plus the worst recession in over 80 years, the high street has lost its smaller businesses enabling a range of other retailers to be able to afford the cheaper rents to move into these more prominent positions. Most of the betting shops appearing on high streets are not new and have actually moved from less prominent side streets, basements etc. They are well designed, brightly lit and pleasant environments for customers and in no way devalue or denigrate the high streets that they have moved to. (4) Problem gambling is a serious issue but not the worsening one that these chancers would have you believe. All the evidence available says that the number of problem gamblers has in no way increased over the last decade, indeed it would suggest that it has actually decreased. Whatever the stats, one problem gambler is one too many, and the heavily regulated betting industry is taking even more steps to exercise its responsibility to customers by introducing more harm minimisation measures and player protection polices through technological improvements to gaming machines and extensive staff training. Take much of what you read on this issue with a pinch of salt. The betting industry is heavily regulated, takes its social responsibilities extremely seriously, provides employment to thousands of people, and delivers a professional and entertaining service to millions of people every week. claresimon
  • Score: -1

8:38pm Fri 14 Feb 14

Lingers Punter says...

I assume that 'claresimon' above Is Simon Clare. Simon is a PR for Coral.
Suggest you read his comments with the knowledge that Coral's FOBT profits pay his wages.
I assume that 'claresimon' above Is Simon Clare. Simon is a PR for Coral. Suggest you read his comments with the knowledge that Coral's FOBT profits pay his wages. Lingers Punter
  • Score: 1

9:13am Sat 15 Feb 14

RichasAA says...

Lingers Punter wrote:
I assume that 'claresimon' above Is Simon Clare. Simon is a PR for Coral.
Suggest you read his comments with the knowledge that Coral's FOBT profits pay his wages.
I assume that 'claresimon' above Is Simon Clare. Simon is a PR for Coral. Suggest you read his comments with the knowledge that Coral's FOBT profits pay his wages.

I think you are right, Matt is tweeting about this post. Trouble is that what he has said is accurate so instead of challenging that you play the man.

You should also note that prominent local councils opposing bookies on this issue also have a habit of being ones with lots of casinos in them - Newham (Aspers Stratford), Southend has 2/3 and a new one coming, the Chinatown campaign is also funny given the Empire, new Hippodrome and more.....

Please also remember that the Campaign for Fairer Gambling is funded by the inventor of casino table games who made millions from three card poker and 21+3, who is still owed millions that depend upon UK casino licences and owns a good chunk of Galaxy Gaming. If you want to play the man please remember that the anti bookie campaign has industry interests too.
[quote][p][bold]Lingers Punter[/bold] wrote: I assume that 'claresimon' above Is Simon Clare. Simon is a PR for Coral. Suggest you read his comments with the knowledge that Coral's FOBT profits pay his wages.[/p][/quote]I assume that 'claresimon' above Is Simon Clare. Simon is a PR for Coral. Suggest you read his comments with the knowledge that Coral's FOBT profits pay his wages. I think you are right, Matt is tweeting about this post. Trouble is that what he has said is accurate so instead of challenging that you play the man. You should also note that prominent local councils opposing bookies on this issue also have a habit of being ones with lots of casinos in them - Newham (Aspers Stratford), Southend has 2/3 and a new one coming, the Chinatown campaign is also funny given the Empire, new Hippodrome and more..... Please also remember that the Campaign for Fairer Gambling is funded by the inventor of casino table games who made millions from three card poker and 21+3, who is still owed millions that depend upon UK casino licences and owns a good chunk of Galaxy Gaming. If you want to play the man please remember that the anti bookie campaign has industry interests too. RichasAA
  • Score: -1

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