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Home   Medway   News   Article

Medway’s Labour leader Cllr Vince Maple hits out at The Association of British Bookmakers (ABB) for not being responsible, despite a new code

27 February 2014
by Lizzie Massey

Restrictions on Fixed Odds Betting Terminals are not strong enough and the machines should not be on our high streets, according Medway’s Labour leader.

The Association of British Bookmakers (ABB) drew up a new code for responsible gambling last week allowing players to set a maximum amount for a single session on FOBTs.

Bosses of Gala Coral, Ladbrokes, Paddy Power, William Hill and Betfred defended their “responsible” practice in a public letter but Cllr Vince Maple, opposition leader at Medway Council, said the machines should be removed altogether.

Settling down to play Hot Wax

Settling down to play Hot Wax

He added: “They say they are responsible, that they don’t believe there is a problem and that all gambling can have a negative impact.

The “crack cocaine” of gambling

“But that is simply not the case. This is not the same as being putting a bit of money on the lottery.

“I get people coming into my office having lost everything because of these machines, their homes, their jobs and some debts have run into six figures.

“I’m not against gambling, I’m against problem gambling and people losing hundred of pounds in a matter of seconds.”

Players can lose £100 every 20 seconds on the FOBTs.

Derek Webb, the founder of the Campaign for Fairer Gambling, who labelled the machines as the “crack cocaine” of gambling, says there are 135 FOBTs across Medway.

"[People have] lost everything because of these machines, their homes, their jobs and some debts have run into six figures." - Cllr Maple

The bookmakers’ letter stated: “The modern betting sector is a highly regulated and responsible industry. Not only do we operate under strict rules imposed by the Gambling Commission and local authorities, but we go much further than our legal obligations.

“The overwhelming majority of our machine customers gamble responsibly. But we are not complacent as all gambling products have the capacity to cause harm to a small number.”

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