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Watson Admits Labour Dropped the Ball on Betting Machines

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Bookmakers continue to make huge profits from FOBTs, while politicians debate whether they should ban them or not.

Political tension escalates as Labour is preparing to force a vote against fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs) in today’s debates held at the House of Commons. Despite repeated requests from anti-gambling campaigners to reduce the number of betting machines, ministers say they will only act after the state-ordered study on the impact of betting machines is completed this autumn.

While admitting that Labour is partially to blame for letting the problem get out of hand, former Minister Tom Watson considers it their duty to find a solution. He believes betting terminals should never have been licensed under British gambling laws in the first place.

“We basically dropped the ball on this one. We didn’t understand the impact this technology would have on the High Street. Now’s the time to put it right,” he told the BBC’s Daily Politics show.

FOBTs, “dangerously addictive”

According to opponents of FOBTs, the machines are spreading “like an epidemic”. According to the latest gambling news, currently, there are more than 33,000 FOBTs in the UK and bookmakers are making huge profits from them. Last year’s income earned from betting terminals alone adds up to GBP 1.55 billion.

Campaigners have also warned that betting machines are “dangerously addictive”, allowing players to lose up to GBP 300 a minute on video roulette game. Recent gambling news report British police and gambling operators know that these machines are being used by criminals to launder “dirty” money.

Labour representatives promise they will give local councils the power to ban high-stake gambling machines, if they regain the reins of the country.

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