Stop the FOBTs

by Leon Duveen on 3 April, 2013

Fixed Odds Betting Terminals

Examples of Fixed Odds Betting Terminals

A few weeks ago I came across a campaign called “Stop the FOBTs”.  FOBTs are (to quote the Fairer Gambling group who are running the campaign) “electronic gaming machines in betting shops, on which it is possible to stake up to £100 every 20 seconds on roulette and other casino games. Betting shops are each currently limited to four FOBTs, so in order to offer more machines, they open up additional shops within a close proximity which is leading to clustering – particularly in deprived areas.”

Whilst I accept gambling is a part of modern life, I think these machines pose a real danger as they are very addictive and (in some cases) the betting shops are making more money from these machines than from the over the counter betting.  The campaign calls for the Government to place tighter restrictions on these machines (which can be down without any change in the law) to try to stop users getting addicted and the resultant social problems that this would cause.  You can find out more about the threat from FOBTs & the Fairer gambling campaign at

As part of the campaign, I emailed to John Mann as my constituency MP, to ask for his support in this campaign.  As you can see from the resulting correspondence, which I have attached – Email exchange with John Mann, he doesn’t seem able to understand the problem, seeing the campaign as trying to close down betting shops.  It is not and nowhere in the emails have I suggested this.

I do hope that John Mann is reacting to the issue in the way he has done just because it has been raised by a prominent local Lib Dem.  If that is the case then can others also write to him on this issue and I hope you will get a more sympathetic response.  Addictive behaviour, be it gambling or drugs can be destructive not only to the addict but also to their family & to society.  We should not be playing party politics over this issue.

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