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Labour promise FOBT changes

Labo

FOBT
ur leader Ed Miliband will give local councils the power to ban fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs) if his party win the next general election.

Planning and gambling laws would be amended to allow authorities in England, Scotland and Wales to outlaw the gaming machines, which make up around half of major bookmakers’ annual profits.

Criticising FOBTs as causing “debt and misery”, Mr Miliband told the BBC that someone had to “step in and stand up to the betting industry”.

Gamblers can bet up to £300 a minute on the machines, which make over £1.5bn each year for bookmaking firms.

FOBTs have previously been criticised as being highly addictive, although the betting industry maintain there is no hard evidence of this.

A spokesman for the Association of British Bookmakers said: “This announcement has nothing to do with helping problem gamblers; it is simply about playing politics with the jobs of 40,000 people and the enjoyment of eight million people for no reason.”

High street bookmakers were permitted to install FOBT machines as a result of legislation introduced by the previous Labour government.
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