8th of January 2013 Author: Glo Wood
In an attack against Fixed Odds Betting Terminals in High Street bookie shops, British Labour Party politicians issued a statement this week, claiming that these operations' targets are mostly the poor and unemployed.
Joining the anti-gambling propaganda, the Daily Mail reported statistics that British punters who come from parts with the highest levels of unemployment wager four times as much on the machines as those in more well-to-do areas.
The stats published by the newspaper emphasize that while punters from the 50 parliamentary constituencies with the highest levels of unemployment visited 1,251 betting shops and put GBP 5.6 billion into 4,454 high stakes machines last year, the 50 constituencies with the lowest unemployment rate saw their punters gamble away GBP 1.4 billion at 287 betting shops on 1,045 machines.
Referring to these figures, Labour MP Dianne Abbott (Hackney North and Stoke Newington constituency in North-East London) asserted that gambling companies target poorer areas, while her party colleague Lucy Powell (Manchester Central) added: "According to these figures, there's more being spent on gambling in my constituency than by the council on services."
However, the Association of British Bookmakers denied this, claiming: "The idea that bookmakers target vulnerable communities is both false and offensive.
"Like any other retailer, we locate our shops where footfall is high and rents are affordable.
"These factors vary, which explains why there can be different numbers of shops in different parts of the country."
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