In 2013, British gamblers have poured GBP 46 billion into high-stake gambling machines.
Labour MP Ed Miliband announces the party will force a vote in Parliament, asking officials to change British gambling laws and give local councils the power to ban fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs) from retail outlets.
The Labour leader recently promised to support anti-gambling campaigners, provided his party wins this year’s elections, but while politicians are debating who’s to blame for all the damage FOBTs are doing, the machines are spreading across UK.
The current government ordered a study on the addictive nature of gambling machines, but the results have not yet been published. However, recent gambling news report British players have spent GBP 46 billion on gambling machines last year, with an increase of 50% over the past four years.
FOBTs used for money-laundering
Meanwhile, gambling operators and the British police say they are aware of criminals and drug dealers using FOBTs for money-laundering. “We are aware that gambling can be used as a means of laundering money and remain vigilant to such activity coming to light in this county,” a Gloucestershire Police spokesman said.
While claiming there is little they can do to stop them, betting shop owners admit they would most likely go out of business without profits made from high-stakes gambling machines. Licensed betting operators have to adhere to the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, which requires them to watch out for customers suspected of money-laundering.