Watson’s ‘Crack Cocaine’ Gambling Flip Flop

Tom Watson has found another target to keep him occupied. Writing in today’s Guardian he makes the case against fixed odds betting terminals, the so-called “crack cocaine” of the gambling industry.

“We’re in the grip of a new addiction – high-speed, high-stakes gambling. What’s fuelling this destructive habit is the fixed odds betting terminal (FOBT), a machine that allows people to bet £100 every 20 seconds for 13 hours a day. These digital roulette terminals are making millions for the gambling industry, and making losers out of those who can least afford to lose.”

Worth noting that Watson’s name is on last year’s Culture, Media and Sport select committee report on gambling, which drew some very different conclusions. Indeed, the committee Watson sat on recommended that the rules regulating FOBTs be relaxed:

“We therefore recommend that local authorities be given the power to allow betting shops to have more than the current limit of four B2 [FOBT] machines per premises”

Not like Watson to waste an opportunity for select committee grandstanding…



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