Reports compiled by major English newspapers have shown that 13 billion pounds was gambled on by the poorest 25% of England’s population. Most of this money was spend on high stakes and high speed gambling machines. This is double the amount that was spent by the richest 75% of the population, which is an alarming statistic.
The 55 poorest boroughs in the UK, which are mostly located in the northern part of the country, have around 3,000 betting shops where this money was spent. 470 million pounds of the 13 billion was lost by gamblers on fixed odds terminals.
In the same 12 months, the richest 115 districts of the country saw around 1,300 bookmakers take 6.5 billion in bets, with 231 million lost by gamblers. This shows the concentrated efforts of bookmakers to target the poorest quarter of England’s population through these gambling machines. They are fully aware of how addictive they can be, and seek to gain as much profit as possible. The industry denies these allegations, but it is difficult for them to argue with cold, hard facts.
There are more and more small betting shops opening, with many of them only having fixed odds betting terminals for customers to use for as long as they want. Recent self policing by betting shops may help matters, but the government is not convinced.
Neil Goulden, the chair of the ABB, says that people have to look at population statistics before coming to these conclusions. While those gambling machines may be targeting the poorest 25% of the population, in numerical terms those are a lot of people. In addition, he claimed that the average betting shop in a rich area generates more money than the average betting shop in a poor area.
Despite those claims, critics are convinced of the betting industry’s malicious targeting of poor communities, and have called on Parliament to take action.
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