South Ayrshire gamblers blow £128 in a year

Adrian Parkinson from the Campaign for Fairer Gambling
Adrian Parkinson from the Campaign for Fairer Gambling

An incredible £128m has been gambled in South Ayrshire in the last year alone with the area’s punter losing over £4.5m in that period.

The astonishing figures from the Campaign for Fairer Gambling show the amounts of cash gamblers in South Ayrshire are putting into Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs).

The data was supplied to the campaign group from the Office for National Statistics and covers up to September last year.

The Campaign for Fairer Gambling are continuing to press for tougher restrictions against FOBT which allow players to bet £100 per spin on the terminals every 20 seconds.

Adrian Parkinson from the campaign said: “FOBT’s are very addictive in their very nature and we have seen a huge rise in them in betting shops over a number of years now.

“Games such as roulette give an illusion that the players are in control when they are anything but.

“We continue to campaign against them until the FOBT machines are brought in line with the other types of gaming machines which are set at £2 per spin.”

The number of betting licences in South Ayrshire is 31 with the group estimating that there are 115 FOBTs in licenced premises.

Figures show that over £23m was put into FOBT’s in South Ayrshire last year with punters in the area losing over £4.5m and Adrian says that bookmakers are still targeting poorer areas with their products.

“It is not stereotypical to say that the players playing these machines are people who are unemployed, on benefits or on very low incomes and by putting these machines in shops, bookmakers are targeting people who are looking for anyway for a quick win.

“We try and stay away from the line that FOBTs are like crack cocaine, but having spoken to people who have played the machines, then that is exactly what these games are like in terms of an addiction to people.”

The British Gambling Prevalence survey of 2010 estimated that one in three FOBT players are addicted.

And with an estimated 3,086 users in South Ayrshire, 1,000 of them are problematic players.