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Last week’s CFFG press release

A press release was issued by the Campaign for Fairer Gambling last week which I have replicated below in its entirety, including links to their various pieces of PR.

It shows very clearly what is good and bad about this campaign.

The good is obvious: you have to give them great credit for the amount of noise they are generating on the issue, whether you buy their underlying motives or not.

But the bad should be obvious too, because it is glaringly obvious there for all to see, if only people looked hard enough.

In the first line, it says that “£1.6bn was lost by gamblers to FOBTs in 2013”. Presumably if it was lost by gamblers, it was won by the bookies?

And yet, towards the end, it says that, “A 25 per cent tax rate on FOBTs may well wipe £78 million off the bookmakers’ profits”. So if 25% of profits is £78m, then total profits are presumably £312m.

As I have said before, it’s open to debate whether £312m is too big a number. Personally, I wouldn’t argue against the idea that it is. But what is quite clear is that £312m is not £1.6bn. So, if £312m is indeed too big a number, why isn’t that the number that is used?

You can see below how many newpapers and broadcasting outlets have carried these figures, not one of them asking that question.



The Campaign for Fairer Gambling took its fight to Parliament once again earlier this month, launching its new figures to a selection of journalists, MPs, campaigners and problem gamblers at an event in the House of Commons.

Revealing that a staggering £1.6 billion was lost by gamblers on FOBTs in Britain during 2013, the new figures were also broken down to Local Authority level – making the data exceptionally useful for grassroots campaigners.

As well as estimates showing cash inserted into FOBTs, amounts gambled and amounts lost, the Campaign has taken its analysis a step further to include deprivation statistics, identifying that £470m was lost on FOBTs in local authorities ranked highest in the deprivation index, compared to £230m in lowest ranked local authorities.

The new figures were supported by new mapping from Geofutures, which can be found on the new Stop the FOBTs website.

New figures lead to widespread press coverage

News of the Campaign for Fairer Gambling’s new figures caused much interest among both the national and regional press – with the Guardian running an exclusive on its Data Blog and even doing its own version of the mapping.

The Daily Mail also carried news of the figures, with this article leading with the staggering amount of profit each FOBT terminal makes the bookmakers. There were also substantial pieces in the Glasgow Evening Times, the Manchester Evening News, the Daily TelegraphBradford Telegraph & Argus the Birmingham Mail and a big debate on the topic in the Newham Recorder.

A number of broadcast pieces were also filmed, including the below segment on Scotland Tonight, which you can watch by clicking here.

Budget sees tax on FOBTs rise to 25%

News of Chancellor George Osborne raising the tax on FOBTs to 25% sparked criticism from the Campaign for Fairer Gambling – which labelled the move “short-sighted” and claimed it would do little to help problem gamblers.

Adrian Parkinson, Consultant for the Campaign for Fairer Gambling, said:

“A 25 per cent tax rate on FOBTs may well wipe £78 million off the bookmakers’ profits – but does little to protect those affected by problem gambling.

“It will be suggested that this move will slow down the proliferation of betting shops on high streets, but the addictive nature of FOBTs means the bookmakers will still be raking in huge sums. The Government should be looking at dealing with the root of the problem – the high stakes and high intensity play of FOBTs, rather than tax the losses of those addicted to them.”

For more on this topic, please click here.

FOBTs in the news

News of the tax hike on FOBTs prompted a swathe of media coverage, with articles in the Glasgow Evening Times, theGuardian and the Daily Mail.

Meanwhile, Yorkshire council vowed to curbs payday lenders and betting shops, there was a big FOBTs splash inWigan TodayBolton News reported on the £35.5m gambled in the city, a former gambling boss in Wales opened up about his experience in the industry and Richard Godwin penned an article in the London Evening Standard comparing the gambling and tobacco industry.

A motion was tabled in Inverclyde to halt the spread of betting shops, the Liverpool Echo ran a big feature on the amount lost in Merseyside and MP Tom Greatrex continued his support of the Campaign in an article for the Daily Record.

To find out more about how you can support the objectives of the Campaign visit the Take Action page of our website.

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