FOTB’s Abundant in the Poorest Areas of the UK
Research has shown that betting shops in the poorest areas in the UK have outnumbered those in the more affluent areas of the country by more than ten to one.
A report by the University of Bristol uncovered the fact that there are more than ten thousand gambling venues in the UK, with the highest number being found in Glasgow, Liverpool, and Middlesbrough.
According to Carolyn Harris MP, this situation is “targeting the most vulnerable in society, both economically and those who may have a problem. It’s a testament to what we’ve always said, which is that the industry puts profit before people. It’s not unexpected, but it’s disturbing.”
Gambling companies are accused of what is known as ‘clustering’, which is where they open multiple betting shops in the same area with the aim of fitting in as many FOTB’s (fixed odds betting terminals).
These machines, which offer a range of casino-related games, have been linked to high levels of gambling addiction, and as a result, the maximum stakes were reduced to £2 from the previous level of £100.
The chief executive of the Standard Life Foundation said, “Problem gambling is a public health issue, causing serious harm to people’s finances, livelihoods, and relationships. Today’s report highlights that those living in poorer areas are more likely to be living next to gambling premises. Those with the least resources are being targeted more, with twice as many gambling venues on their doorstep as supermarkets. If we are to truly level up, the new gambling reforms currently being considered must take into account the geography of gambling venues and give local authorities more control over licensing.”
A spokesperson for the BGC (Betting and Gaming Council) responded by saying, “BGC members support 119,000 jobs, generate £4.5bn in tax to pay for vital public services and contribute £7.7bn to the economy in gross value added.” Betting shops alone employ around 46,000 people across the country, pay £1bn in tax to the Treasury as well as £60m in business rates for local councils, while casinos employ 11,000 staff and pay £500m a year in tax.