Addictive gambling to increase among Haringey's young people during World Cup

Addictive gambling to increase among Haringey's young people during world cup

Addictive gambling to increase among Haringey's young people during world cup

First published in News
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This Is Local London: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

A betting shop worker has warned that betting machines blamed for fuelling gambling addiction "make people lose control".

The Haringey man, who has worked for a major bookmaker for over four years, said his employers do not do enough to help staff like him deal with problem gamblers.

New research shows that Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBT), which exist in almost all of Haringey’s 60 betting shops, will be used more often than usual by young adults during the World Cup.

More than half of the 500 adults aged 18 to 24 responding to a survey by addiction specialists said they would be more likely to use the machines.

The Haringey man, who is the deputy manager of a betting shop outside the borough, said: “The machines are computer games, they deliberately target younger people.

“The two things that turn gamblers into gambling addicts are the illusion of control and frequent near misses. The FOBTs are programmed to offer both of these things.

“For example, the roulette game is set to return 97.3 per cent of the money staked. Nearly always, when playing roulette, you’ll be up at some point. And when people think they’re winning they’ll gamble more. They’ll gamble until they’ve got absolutely no money left.

“If you place a bet over the counter, it’s much easier to control how much you’re spending. The machines are totally different, they make people lose control.”

He said: “The company have loads of plans about what we should do, but they don’t actually enforce them.

"They pay a lot of lip-service to staff limiting gambling, but the reality is that staff aren't given the support and the training they need to approach someone who might be suffering on account of having an issue.”

The Campaign for Fairer Gambling has previously estimated that almost £2 million is spent on FOBTs in one year in Tottenham, with Haringey as a whole having more than 60 betting shops containing the machines.

Tottenham MP David Lammy has said that it is “worrying” that the poorest communities in the country are being "flooded" with betting shops and these machines.

A spokesman for the Association of British Bookmakers said: “What is important is that people bet responsibly and only what they can afford, whether it be on the World Cup or on a machine.

“Earlier this year, we introduced a tough voluntary code of conduct which all our members have signed up to.”

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