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We provide commercial services through our wholly owned subsidiary SocietyWorks Ltd Search TheyWorkForYou. Sign in Join Contact. Overview Voting Record Recent Votes. Back to all topics. Gambling Regulation There have been votes in Parliament on a number of aspects of the regulation of gambling. A major bookmaker in my constituency has just retired, so he is more honest than most. He tells me that this kind of gambling is like cocaine—it is totally and absolutely addictive.
There are examples of that. That is how addictive it is. This problem is polluting our high streets. Shops are disappearing and in their place, we are getting bookmakers. This is a ridiculous situation and a decision is needed sooner rather than later. That is why there is no green light for fixed odds betting terminals.
Their future is absolutely unresolved, pending the research that we have started. The Responsible Gambling Trust is carrying out research to better understand how people behave when playing on gaming machines and what helps people to play responsibly. It is the largest piece of academic research that has ever been undertaken on the issue.
It aims to understand patterns of gaming behaviour and to identify when there is robust evidence that consumers may be experiencing problems. Will the Minister confirm that the bookmakers have provided all the information that she has asked for? If that is not the case, will she set out what information she would like from the bookmakers that they have not provided her with?
Friend makes an important point. We need the information from the bookmakers. That is one reason why I met the big five bookmakers in December. They have indicated that they will provide the data we need. To make sure that they do provide the data, a further meeting has been set up with them for 30 January.
I met the Responsible Gambling Trust in December and pressed it to make progress with the research programme. I emphasised to it the importance of obtaining tangible research outcomes by the autumn of I am clear that the industry must rapidly share data to allow the research aims to be met within the required timetable.
I am pleased that the Minister has acknowledged the work of the Responsible Gambling Trust, which is made up of five independent members and five members from the industry. Will she condemn the attacks that have been made on the Responsible Gambling Trust by the Campaign for Fairer Gambling, which is rubbishing any work that comes from the trust?
I will not get involved in such arguments, but I will say that the Responsible Gambling Trust does good work and is a reputable organisation. I look forward to receiving this important piece of work from it later this year. In December, the public health survey looked at this issue for the first time. It stated:. That was true except among people in the most deprived quintile of the index of multiple deprivation, who were more likely to participate in bingo.
There is further analysis relating to FOBTs and quintile four. However, the most recent data that we have show that, in essence, there is no difference by area. Notwithstanding the drop in the number of problem gamblers, the Government are concerned about any level of problem gambling and will, of course, urge the industry—as we are doing—to make real and proper progress on that matter.
The Minister is arguing that there is a serious problem, and she keeps wagging her finger at Labour Members and saying it is our fault. She seems to acknowledge that there is a serious problem, so will her Government legislate to address the problem before the next general election?
We believe in doing things properly. We are waiting for the research and have put pressure on the industry to produce the data. Reports will be coming out imminently, and precautionary protections will be put in place by the industry at the end of March. We will do whatever is needed to ensure that people are protected. Although planning is a matter for the Department for Communities and Local Government , my officials are in regular discussion with colleagues from that Department about betting shop clustering.
Will the Minister give way? No, I will not; I am going to make some progress and I think I have been generous. Changes to the national planning system are not the answer to local problems. Local authorities already have a range of powers available regarding betting shops, and a local planning authority can consult and make an article 4 direction that removes permitted development rights, where it considers that necessary to protect local amenity or the well-being of an area.
The London boroughs of Southwark and of Barking and Dagenham have brought forward article 4 directions, thus requiring a planning application for any new betting shops. That will enable them to consider the application against their local plan.
The betting shop must also comply with its licensing conditions, and where those are breached, the local licensing authority has power to intervene, including removing the licence to operate. As we have heard, the motion before us calls for local communities to ban gaming machines in their areas. The Government agree that responsibility for managing high streets should rest with local areas, but the truth is that local authorities already have powers to control gambling premises in their areas.
Local authorities have power to reject an application for a gambling premises licence, or to grant one with additional conditions should that be necessary. They have power to review licences after they have been granted, and to impose licence conditions after review. Many local authorities have already used those powers to good effect. For example, in November , the London borough of Newham—which has been mentioned this afternoon—imposed conditions on a betting shop because of its concerns about crime, disorder and under-age gambling.
The conditions stipulate that a minimum of two members of staff must be on duty throughout the day. Additionally, the betting shop must carry out an undercover, under-age test purchase to ensure that minors are not gambling, and it must send the results to the council and the police.
The Government believe it is right for the industry, in conjunction with local authorities, to agree on the appropriate level of staffing in betting shops, depending on the circumstances of the local area. Local authorities already have powers to ensure a minimum level of staffing where appropriate.
The Government urge local authorities to fully utilise powers at their disposal to limit the number of betting shops in line with local demand, and to apply appropriate licensing conditions where they have cause to tackle issues of problem gambling in local communities. Adopting the motion would lead to a patchwork of regulation right across the country where it is okay for gaming machines to be located in some areas but not in others.
I do not believe that that is the right way forward. The industry must instead introduce better targeted and more effective player protection for users of gaming machines in all locations. I have made it clear to the industry that it must urgently develop targeted player protection measures for those players who are at greatest risk. I do not believe that the motion can achieve such an outcome. However, I do not rule out any action that may be necessary to make machines safer.
I am clear that if the betting industry fails to deliver on its commitment to implement enhanced player protection measures by March , does not share data for independent research, and if the balance of the evidence suggests precautionary action on stakes and prizes or other measures are required, the Government will not hesitate to act. At No. In the short walk along the high street to East Ham station, there are two more Betfreds, another Paddy Power, a Ladbrokes and a William Hill , which was the subject of the licensing committee meeting in November to which the Minister referred.
On the other side of the station, there are two more Paddy Powers and a Ladbrokes. I think that represents a concentration. It is certainly related to the economic character of the area and not simply a question of footfall. All those shops open at 7. I would be very grateful if the Minister would tell us whether the measures she is discussing with the industry will be taken up by organisations such as Paddy Power and Betfred, which account for such a large number of the recently opened shops in our area.
It seemed that the Minister was not aware that the Local Government Association said that article 4 directives were not sufficient to prevent the proliferation of betting shops on the high street. Is that not precisely why we need to reclassify betting shops out of the A2 classification so that situations such as the one on my right hon. That is clearly the view of Conservative local authorities and, as we have heard, of the Mayor of London.
I think it would also be the view across the House, were it to be tested. To gauge public opinion when there was an application for two more Paddy Power branches last year, I held a drop-in surgery at a local community centre in my constituency. One person who came in was a former Paddy Power manager. He said that he had seen a large number of families destroyed and businesses ruined, as well as students who gambled away their student loans. He told me that by spending a day in a Paddy Power shop, one would meet half a dozen people whose lives had been destroyed by their addiction.
Last year, when Newham council refused a licence for two new Paddy Power branches, the organisation appealed. Impressed by the phalanx of sharp lawyers—and, I have to say, sold-out former police officers—who appeared, the judge duly nodded the appeal through. The truth is that existing planning and licensing powers are hopelessly inadequate, as my hon. Friend said, and need to be strengthened in the way laid out in the motion.
My right hon. Friend is making an excellent speech. The local council, North Lanarkshire , supported by Bellshill community council, turned one application down, only for the Scottish Government to use their powers to overrule it, so how can it be said that local authorities have these powers? Government planning inspectors in England routinely overturn refusals, so the powers are inadequate. We have 87 of these shops in my borough. I think that there were nine new ones in and a similar number in , which shows the scale of the problem.
To underline the point, in the Paddy Power case in Newham, the judge awarded costs against the council to punish it and warn others against thinking of challenging this growth. I think she said that she agreed with Mary Portas, so why are the Government not going to act? One of the people who came to my constituency drop-in was the owner of commercial properties on East Ham high street.
Frankly, he has a guilty conscience about letting his properties to betting shops, but he made the point that betting chains paid more than anyone else to occupy the units. They are very attractive tenants and, by extracting huge sums from people who cannot afford it, they are making money hand over fist.
The law needs to change urgently to deal with the problem. As the Minister said, there has recently been modest success in East Ham. The William Hill opposite East Ham station has been a magnet for drunken antisocial behaviour for a long time. After it allowed a year-old to use its machines, an application was made to revoke its licence. There was the usual phalanx of lawyers and former police officers, but the upshot was that the council committee required the company to make some improvements.
Among other things—I am pleased that this point has been picked up in the motion moved by my hon. Friend Clive Efford —the bookmaker was required to have at least two members of staff present whenever it was open, instead of the usual one.
As far as I can tell, however, there is only ever one member of staff in the other betting shops on the high street. I understand that this is the first time such a condition has been applied and accepted by a bookmaker, and I hope that our motion suggests that that will be a precedent for elsewhere. Is my right hon. Friend concerned, as I am, that many of these employees do not have much training in dealing with problem gamblers? Despite what the industry says, many staff are given a job and then start work straightaway.
Friend is right. In any case, these members of staff are one person on their own in one of these shops, many of which are quite big. They are sitting behind a glass screen, so what are they supposed to do if there is someone with a problem in the shop?
There are often fights outside. Interestingly, Community, on behalf of its members working in betting shops, has supported our very good motion, and I hope that the House will agree to it. I welcome the debate as an opportunity to bring some light to the subject, rather than the large amount of smoke that has obscured it so far, but that might be a statement of hope, rather than experience. It is important to bring some perspective to the debate.
Gambling is a legitimate activity that brings considerable pleasure to millions of people in this country, that generates a lot of economic activity and that provides employment and tax revenue for the Government. Betting shops are not a blight on the high street; they are regulated and controlled environments that provide employment and, in some cases, a social benefit.
I shall come on to problem gambling, but it is a myth to suggest that that is entirely a result of FOBTs. There is a difficulty due to problem gambling, and a small number of people suffer from addiction—of course they need some protection. It has always been a principle that the harder forms of gambling are permitted in more controlled environments. To that extent, it was something of an anomaly that the previous Government allowed B2 machines on the high street while there were restrictions on those machines in adult gaming centres and casinos.
It was ironic, too, that the previous Government wanted to introduce category A gaming machines, for which there were no limits on stakes or prizes, in super-casinos. Perhaps those anomalies should have been addressed. That was why, when the Culture, Media and Sport Committee looked at the problem, we recommended allowing up to 20 B2 machines in casinos and some B2 machines in adult gaming centres.
Does my hon. Friend agree that while it is all very well restricting stakes and prizes in betting shops, there is nothing to stop the people involved from going back home where they can play exactly the same games on the internet with unlimited stakes and unlimited prizes? The latest statistics in the English health survey show that something like 0.
Gentleman give way? Although that figure might have fallen and although only a small number of people are involved, I accept of course that those people still need protection, which was why the Select Committee looked at various technologies that might help to address the problem. We looked at self-exclusion, taking periods of rest between playing machines and mandatory pre-commitment. We should consider such measures, but before taking any action, it is important that we act on the evidence.
That was why we recommended that more research should be conducted so that we could establish whether B2 machines presented any greater risk of attracting problem gamblers than other types of machine. As my hon. Friend Philip Davies pointed out, the strongest growth in gambling is taking place online, but there are far fewer controls online for people who have a problem.
I am sorry, but there are strict time limits on speeches, so I want to press on. I have explained why I believe that we need much more research. The issue of clustering has been raised, too, and it was also recognised by the Select Committee. We recommended, although this was widely misinterpreted, that there should be some flexibility for local authorities so that if it could be shown that a large number of betting shops had opened to get around the limit of four machines in a shop, one solution might be to allow local authorities to permit more machines in individual betting shops precisely to stop more shops from opening.
We suggested that such flexibility should be applied in an upward rather than a downward direction. It would apply only to new shops, so he would not seek to close existing betting shops on the high street. I am happy to give way if the hon. Gentleman wishes to clarify his position. The licensing powers relating to the machines could be retrospective.
The number of machines per shop could be reduced. But the hon. Gentleman is not proposing to revoke the existing permissions for shops that are currently on the high street, so what he suggests would not be likely to make any great difference. It would act as an anti-competitive measure that would benefit the people currently operating on the high street and prevent new entrants from coming into the market.
Generally, that would be detrimental to consumers. Mr Sutcliffe , who is a member of the Responsible Gambling Trust, pointed out that a thorough study is under way, with a report due in the near future. Thank you for calling me to speak, Mr Deputy Speaker , and a happy new year to you. I was extremely heartened to hear the Prime Minister express concern about the prevalence of fixed odds betting terminals from the Dispatch Box for the second time earlier today, because the issue is of concern to Members on both sides of the House.
This is a new technology linked to high-stake gambling. I have time to focus on only one issue, namely how we commission, fund and respond to research in the context of public policy. I want to caution the Minister : I think it is a little foolhardy to set so much store by the findings of a report that is the outcome of a complex set of arrangements that make it hard for allegations of too much influence from vested interests to be overcome.
The problem for the Government and the House is this. We are awaiting the findings of a study that is intended to establish what harm is being caused to individual players. Those findings are due to be published later this year by the Responsible Gambling Trust, which is funded by a voluntary levy on the gambling industry and chaired by a former industry executive. The gambling industry should not be seen to have influence over a body that is, in effect, conducting research on itself.
In , the Gambling Commission recommended a tripartite structure for research, education and treatment. The commission argued that if those programmes were to be funded voluntarily, it was essential for strategy, fundraising and commissioning to be run by separate bodies so that a conflict of interest could be avoided.
Otherwise the industry, as the sole funder, might have influence over what research was commissioned. Friend says, at that time it was difficult to bring together various bodies to fund research, education and treatment for problem gamblers. The NHS does not fund such programmes, and the Responsible Gambling Trust provided the best possible deal at the time.
What I find regrettable is that the Campaign for Fairer Gambling should attack the integrity of that individual body of research on gambling, and I hope that my hon. Friend will not do the same now. I am going to attack the arrangements, although I am not decrying my hon. One can choose whether to work within the system to improve things or to try to influence them from outside, and we have taken a different path in that regard, but I am sure that our policy goals are the same.
Friend is making a powerful case. Does he agree that much of the anecdotal and experiential evidence is very clear, and that it is really a question of whether the Government are prepared to take on vested interests? Time and again, when that question is put to them, their answer is no, they are not. I do think that there is a timidity when it comes to the big gambling lobby.
In my view, it is hard not to conclude that the complex relationships that I have described constitute an attempt to hide the influence of the industry on public policy. The Responsible Gambling Strategy Board was set up to recommend strategic objectives to the commissioning body, which at the time was the Responsible Gambling Fund. It was headed by Neil Goulden, who was the chief executive officer of Coral and is now the chair of the Association of British Bookmakers.
Subsequently, trustees from the Responsible Gambling Fund resigned as they felt the fundraising body had too much influence over what research was to be commissioned. So that is a concern, and I think it is one we should all address. I am sorry, but I cannot take another intervention as I am running out of time.
There is also a revolving-door policy with some of the regulators. There is a guy called Andrew Lyman who now works for William Hill and is a rather truculent tweeter. He used to work for the commission when it stressed the importance of separating fundraising from commissioning and research, and now he works for William Hill lobbying against that.
So I think there is an inherent conflict of interest in the system that we have put in place and I hope that when the Minister responds to this discussion, she will be able to answer this question: how can the House have confidence in a report when we cannot be confident that it is truly independent? In the limited time available I want to just dispel some myths, but I shall start by saying it is always a pleasure to follow Mr Watson , my former sparring partner on the Select Committee.
However, I should point out that at the time the Committee carried out its report into gambling, the hon. Gentleman was a member of the Committee but I do not think he turned up to any of the sessions. Perhaps if he was so concerned about this issue he might have turned up and listened to some of the evidence because he might have learned something as a result. I apologise for not turning up.
There was another vested interest that I had a personal interest in at the time, as the hon. Gentleman knows, but when that debate was going on I thought to myself that not even the hon. Gentleman would be dumb enough to ask for more FOBTs in bookies rather than fewer. I was wrong. If the hon. Gentleman had actually turned up, he would have known the report was unanimously supported by all members including members of the Labour party.
The first myth I want to dispel is that there has been an explosion in the number of betting offices and machines. The number of betting offices has actually declined from a peak of 14, in the mids to around 8, today and that figure has been virtually the same for the last 10 years. Even in areas considered to have huge numbers of bookmakers—for example Hackney—they make up about 2.
Let us take Greenwich as an example of what has happened. Of course bookmakers are often in densely populated areas and some of them happen to be poorer areas, too, but the relevant fact is that they are in densely populated areas not poorer areas. There has never been anything like such a large number in that small area before.
Something dramatic has changed and it needs to be fixed. The right hon. Gentleman says that, but many of his constituents work in them, of course, and many of his constituents enjoy going into them. If they did not enjoy going into them, they would not be open. It is true that more bookmakers have moved on to the high street in recent years, but their overall number has not gone up; instead they have moved from the side streets owing to lower rents because of the recession largely caused by the Labour party, and they will probably move back on to the side streets when the economy recovers and rents on the high street go back up.
Anyway, where are the legions of retailers wanting to open up on the high street in place of bookmakers? It is a choice between having Ladbrokes on the high street or a boarded-up shop. I cannot give way again as I have taken the two interventions allowed. People ask for a demand test and there is a demand test: it is called a customer demand test, which is the ultimate demand test.
The second myth is that bookmakers target poorer areas. There are two bookmakers per square mile in the most deprived areas. That compares with nine pubs and 11 takeaways. If the Opposition are saying that bookmakers are targeting the poorest people in society, what do they have to say about pubs and takeaways targeting those people? Do we hear anything about that? We do not, because this is not about the poorest in society being targeted; it is about people who are anti-gambling and anti-bookmaker.
Bookmakers are not targeting poorer areas. This is about middle-class people being patronising towards working-class people by telling them that they know best how they should spend their money. The third myth is that the machines are used by the poorest people. Again, that is untrue. Member for West Bromwich East said that he did not want surveys to be linked to the gambling industry, but this is the health survey, which has nothing to do with the gambling industry.
That survey makes it clear that richer people are much more likely than poorer people to play FOBTs. Only two gambling activities in that health survey were engaged in more by poorer people than by richer people. They were scratch cards and bingo.
Poorer people spend more on scratch cards and bingo than do the richest people. What are the Opposition saying about scratch cards and bingo? Nothing, because they do not think that it would be popular to say anything about them. This is just a case of crocodile tears. I would love to give way to the hon.
Gentleman, who is a very good man on these issues, but I am afraid that time does not allow me to do so. The fourth myth is that the amount of problem gambling is going up. That is down from 0. So problem gambling is going down, not up. If B2s and. FOBTs were the cause of such problem gambling, it would presumably have gone through the roof in recent years, but it has actually gone down. No one impartial describes them in that way.
This is a ridiculous debate on a ridiculous premise, and I cannot possibly support the Opposition motion today. Many of us on both sides of the House who represent poor and working-class constituents can see the effect that these machines are having on lives and families, and their impact on our inner towns and cities, especially where a proliferation of betting shops provides an opportunity to play the machines, or where category B1 and B2 machines are to be found in clubs.
Any Labour Members who attend trade union and labour clubs, and any Government Members who attend political and sports clubs, will regularly see people pouring hundreds of pounds into these machines, while often getting very little back. Does not that illustrate my hon.
It does, and I commend my hon. Friend for his comment. These machines disproportionately affect those who live in poorer, working-class areas. The problem of the B1 and B2 machines is highly pervasive. If someone in a club is drinking too much and clearly has an addiction or a drinking problem, they are often asked to leave.
If they become a problem customer, they are shown the door. However, problem gamblers pouring money into machines are not warned that their gambling is excessive. In fact, they are encouraged by the fact that the machines are placed next to the bar, so that any change put across the bar is put into the machine as quickly as possible.
Additionally, a person may be drinking at the bar, and a machine next to the bar offers a comfortable place to park a drink while using the machine. The companies that provide gaming machines to clubs, pubs and bookmakers use all sorts of techniques to maximise profits from the machines. The Government claim that the commission does not collect data for those businesses.
That is their explanation for not having sufficient data to deal with an obvious problem. The fact that data on those businesses is not collected does not necessarily mean that the Government cannot publish a report or carry out an inquiry to get such information.
FOBTs allow almost unlimited winnings, as well as huge losses. Given the technology that the multibillion-pound gambling industry is using in this day and age, it beggars belief that it cannot collate the information that will allow the Government to make informed decisions about what the limits should be, and about how machines should operate, where they should operate and at what times of the day.
If anything, I believe that there is a deliberate attempt by the industry to cover up what is happening. The impact assessment does not give us a true overall picture of the situation. Communities are becoming poorer. We have heard from the Government about an increase in employment, but there has been a large increase in part-time employment, and low pay is the problem it always was.
Poor people are being drawn in initially to try to make money for essentials, rather than just coming along for amusement, and are then getting drawn into habitual gambling, which we are all seeing on our high streets. People know what is happening with high-stake, fixed-odds machines.
The Government know what is happening, but they have deliberately chosen not to take action and to kick this into the long grass. They are in fact helping the industry by increasing the limits in the way they have. We know what is happening with Wonga and payday loans. We know what austerity is doing to poor and unemployed people, and people on low incomes.
People are trying to get money from any source, and gambling seems like a quick fix, and it is much more prevalent than it used to be. I have seen in my own town of Preston a huge increase in the number of betting shops and bookies. Payday loan businesses are taking over premises that were once shops, and reputable companies and businesses as well.
Friend has talked about the accumulation of data, and the Government say that they wish to look at the data before they make any judgment. He identified the fact that the data we are seeing every day with our own eyes is telling us the truth, which is that these things are increasing day upon day on our high streets.
Friend is right, and it does not take a genius to see what is going on; we are all seeing it every day on our own streets with our own eyes. Poor and unemployed people, who have been hit by austerity measures, are being drawn to the clubs and bookies to use these machines on a scale that has never been seen before.
The current limit of four FOBTs should remain the limit, and local authorities should be given the powers outlined in our motion, which I ask hon. Members to support. It is a great pleasure to contribute to this debate. I served on the Select Committee when it investigated this issue between and Let us have a bit of a history lesson.
That was a useful compromise, but the whole point of reviewing legislation is to see whether there have been any unintended consequences. One of the most obvious unintended consequences has been mentioned by many hon. Members: as the machines are popular and there is a demand for them, what we have been seeing in high streets in different parts of the country is that more and more betting shops are appearing.
That may be partly due to the fact that premises are readily available. There have been mergers of various banks and building societies, which are in the same planning class as betting shops. Ultimately, those shops would not open if people did not want to use them. Is the hon. Lady as disappointed as I am that the Government have not mentioned the survey that 2CV did in Newham, which is a reputable data gathering company?
She talked about how folk go into these premises and are addicted to these machines. I think I have seen that survey. It was commissioned by the Campaign for Fairer Gambling. I do not deny that that was the outcome. Professor Orford, who is known to be anti-gambling, gave evidence to the Culture, Media and Sport Committee that we are the most studied country in the world, with three public prevalence surveys since and even more public health research.
Despite that, our Committee was not able to substantiate the fact that gambling addiction is driven by fixed odds betting terminals. Friend aware that about illegal machines were confiscated in the south-east last year? Does she agree that if FOBTs were banned, as the Opposition want, it would drive the gambling underground and even more of these machines would be played illegally? I recognise that if we displace an activity in a controlled environment there is the risk of creating an uncontrolled environment.
We should also consider some of the briefing we have been given. The Gambling Commission says we cannot use the gambling prevalence survey results specifically to identify the causation of problem gambling. Some of the research, which alluded to secondary data research, said:. These findings suggest that popular perceptions of risk associated with specific types of gambling for the development of gambling-related problems might misrepresent actual risk…The range of gambling involvement frequently is a better predictor of disordered gambling status than type of gambling.
We should be looking instead at global behaviour characteristics. That is the research that was referred to by the Campaign for Fairer Gambling, but it does not support its own particular view. There are different surveys on whether poor people are being targeted, including from Public Health England. Table 3. Scotland has the highest prevalence of FOBT use in the country as a whole. I do not deny that there are individual cases. We know that there are problem gamblers—the latest estimate suggests between , and ,, and those individual cases will be absolute tragedies.
We may have heard them on the radio or met them in our surgeries. They may have bet the family silver. Families are torn apart by the problem, but this is no different from what happens when people are driven to similar distraction by other addictions, such as to alcohol or drugs. I respect Clive Efford , but he says that all he is talking about is a few more powers. The basis of our English law is that we can do what we want unless the Government and the law intervene to restrict us, and we see that with crime, planning and so on.
We must be careful when we stop legitimate gambling on the basis of anecdotal research. It is a bit like the many campaigns that we receive. We need to think carefully about any changes that we propose. We need to continue to work to try to tackle the problems of problem gamblers, but that does not mean that we should throw away the freedoms people rightly enjoy to gamble, whether that is on our high streets or elsewhere.
I cannot support the Opposition motion. The key issue at the heart of the debate is localism—the ability of local authorities to act in the interests of the people they represent. I was most surprised when the Minister referred to localism as an unacceptable patchwork, as that is an unacceptable approach to take when considering local authorities and their responsibilities.
The debate is not about gambling in general but about specific and growing concerns about fixed odd betting terminals in betting shops. Research has shown that the people using those facilities particularly include young unemployed men. Has the hon.
Lady ever played a fixed odds betting terminal? They have one of the highest rates of return of any gambling machine and it is virtually impossible to lose hundreds of pounds as the majority of the money one puts in comes back out again. I am concerned about the negative aspects of the activity, and I refer the hon. Gentleman to some of the information contained in the report of Landman Economics, which I have quoted. There is certainly a link between the growth of such facilities and areas of deprivation.
In Liverpool, Riverside , which I represent, there are now such terminals—one of the highest levels in the country—and it is a very deprived area. That deprivation has been recognised by and has caused deep concern to the local authority, Liverpool city council, which is why it raised the issue last November and called for increased powers to enable it to deal with this specific concern.
It is often local authorities that recognise the cumulative effects of such facilities, and the impact on local communities and individuals. The city council has cited in its debates many cases of people who have turned to loan sharks in desperation, having got into debt because of these facilities, and the problems that they have experienced.
Indeed, the Landman Economics report provides evidence of the economic impact on local communities. There is concern about the development of such facilities, about the fact that they are uncontrolled in areas of deprivation, and about the impact on individuals and local communities, and it is important that local authorities are given the necessary powers to deal with the issue.
Government Members seem to have said a number of different things about local authority powers. Some have suggested that local government has sufficient powers, others have said that such powers are perhaps difficult to find and others have cited examples of where such powers have been found to be failing or simply do not exist.
The key point is that local authorities should be able to deal with the issues they consider to be important to their areas. That does not mean that they should be forced to take a particular course of action, but they should be enabled to do so when they feel that it is necessary. The proposal is not about gambling in general and certainly would not deal with the significant growth of online gambling.
This is about another very specific issue, as it is extremely important that local government is given the powers it requests to react to problems. Friend is making powerful points about the contradictions in the points made by Government Members about localism and nationalism and about addiction. Is that not shocking? Friend makes some important points, and I urge Government Members to recognise that the heart of the motion is about empowering local authorities to take the action they consider necessary in the interests of the people they represent.
It does not preclude other decisions being made when further research has been carried out, and I urge the Government to support the motion. Just before Christmas, I was one of only four Government Members to vote against the Government in a deferred Division on this issue. Unfortunately, although I have great sympathy with many of the points made by the shadow Minister , Clive Efford , I cannot support the Labour motion.
I will not rehearse the reasons for that, but the motion is cynical, opportunistic and, not least, confused. The Leader of the Opposition launched a campaign in the summer about stakes and problem gambling. It was about the generic issue—it was not just about use class orders and planning, which is what the hon.
Member for Eltham is telling the House today. Friend shares my concern—I am sure he will discuss clustering in Peterborough, which is similar to the clustering of betting shops in Green Lanes in my constituency —that there should be greater local powers. My local area wants to set up a neighbourhood plan that involves the high street. Does he think that in the review and the response the promise to leave no stone unturned should include greater powers in relation to planning and licensing?
That is an integral part of any remedial powers that the Government take to deal with the serious and legitimate concerns of many of my constituents. I am disappointed, because this could have been a genuine cross-party debate on information and research provided by bodies such as the Methodist Church , which has not always supported my party, and the Salvation Army.
I declare an interest as a member of the good neighbours board of the Peterborough citadel of the Salvation Army. Undoubtedly, there is a problem. The precautionary principle is not that there should be unambiguous, completely definable evidence of a causal link between critical problem gambling and FOBTs. It is about the risk of problem gambling. One of my worries, which has been partly ameliorated today, is about the precautionary principle on the maximum stake.
Mr Sutcliffe has defended the Responsible Gambling Trust, and he is right to do so. I do not distrust the RGT , but there are serious concerns. I am always happy to give way to my hon. Friend talks about the precautionary principle in gambling and problem gambling. That is an argument for banning gambling altogether, because in any form of gambling there are people who become addicted. On that logic, his argument is to ban gambling altogether.
Is he aware that someone can place a bet on a 5-furlong sprint at Epsom that takes 50 seconds with an unlimited amount of money? There is no limit whatsoever. It is interesting that my hon. I cannot give way. Gentleman is very engaging, but I must resist his blandishments on this occasion.
I am not a devil take the hindmost, freemarket libertarian. I am a Conservative—I am a social conservative. I believe that there is a compact or bond of trust with the most vulnerable people in our society. There is a problem with problem gambling. As a Christian, I have compassion for those people who are stuck with the mindset of feeling that they have to gamble, but my concern is mostly for the children and families affected by problem gambling.
We have a responsibility and a duty. We have regulatory regimes for many things in our society. I think that it would be wrong, when so much money is being made, and from some of the poorest people in society, to walk on by and say that we do not need to look at this again. Labour was catastrophically wrong on this issue.
I think that this is the worst motion the Opposition have ever chosen, because they are on very weak ground. I believe that the Minister is right to look at the precautionary principle and to demand all the up-to-date information on the B2 machines, which are very sophisticated, from the gambling companies.
A code of practice is not good enough, because we are not talking about Mother Teresa ; we are talking about some pretty ruthless business organisations that are protecting their interests, and some of them are preying on the most vulnerable in society. We need the information. Friend Dr Coffey that we need to base our decisions on data that can be proven and tested, not on anecdote. Having said that, I believe that the Salvation Army has produced a great deal of data.
We heard earlier about the increase in the number of problem gamblers in recent years. In short, we are a Government committed to localism, so let us give local authorities more powers to look at use class orders, to crack down on clustering and to look at the absolute number of FOBTs, all of which I agree with.
But let us have a consensus across the House, rather than vindictive, party political point scoring, because this is too important an issue for our families and communities for that. Mr Deputy Speaker , if you were to step off the train at Sunderland station, you would see a betting shop straight away, and you would not need to walk far to see several more.
Problem gambling is associated with a number of mental and physical health issues, including depression and insomnia, in addition to comorbid disorders such as alcohol abuse. Problem gambling is a significant health issue, both from a public and a private perspective. Although treatment is needed and sought by many, prevention of extreme gambling behaviours should be boosted by giving local authorities the power to restrict the number of betting shops opening in their areas and revoke or reduce the number of FOBTs in each branch.
FOBTs are purposefully and cynically targeted at the most vulnerable in society. They target areas of deprivation and take money away from those who can least afford to lose it. In an article published this morning, Dirk Vennix, chief executive of the Association of British Bookmakers, claimed that misinformation was being spread on the issue, citing the health survey for England, yet the same study shows that nearly twice as many people in the most deprived quintile use FOBTs than in the least deprived.
It drags vulnerable people into cycles of debt, exacerbates our cost of living crisis and turns other shoppers away from our already struggling high streets. There is a clear link between problem gambling and debt problems.
It also stated that there is an urgent need to improve education about gambling for young people in schools. Education is crucial, but often it is all too late. Problem gambling encouraged by FOBTs affects not just adults but an estimated 60, young people aged between 12 and Furthermore, young people are far less likely to seek help for their gambling problems. The industry is stoking fears that any changes to FOBTs will inevitably lead to job losses, yet there is an inversely proportional relationship between the net takings of FOBTs and the number of employees in betting shops.
As many branches are single-staffed, it can be difficult to monitor users and detect problem gamblers, and it will be even harder if the industry has its way and has the number of machines in each shop increased. Betting shop clusters do far more harm than just to gamblers.
The Portas review said that. Indeed, it puts many people off going shopping on our high streets. FOBTs are bad for problem gamblers, bad for our high streets, and bad for public health. When I visited a local betting shop on a high street in my constituency , it was, unexpectedly, a rather quiet, low-key activity. I certainly did not recognise the picture painted by Stephen Timms , who said that betting shops attracted drunkenness and bad behaviour. Gambling is as legitimate a leisure activity as going to football matches, pubs or the cinema.
Lady aware that it is well established that the staff of betting shops are instructed not to report violent incidents inside the shops in order to keep them out of the crime statistics? I can only say how strongly that contrasts with my experience of visiting a local betting shop in Hornchurch.
Gambling is enjoyed by 8 million people nationally, and betting shops provide local jobs and help to stimulate the economy. People have the right to choose how they spend their disposable income. I have no gambling instinct personally. I choose not to gamble, but that choice is open to everyone, and I defend the right of others to gamble responsibly if that is their choice. Friend is making a very good speech. One of the key points is that in fixed premises on the high streets people cannot drink alcohol.
If we were to push more people into online gambling, who knows what would happen, as people can sit and drink and gamble at very quick speeds? Friend makes a good point. The betting shop I visited was more like a coffee shop, because tea and coffee were being served.
I question the claim that betting shops are too numerous or not wanted. Clearly some local people do want them, otherwise they would not remain viable. Passers-by were not being dragged into the shop off the street—in fact, most people passed by—and nobody inside was being coerced into betting against their will or spending more money than they had planned.
The well-trained staff knew most of their regular customers and were trained to notice any addictive behaviour should it occur. Help and advice was available to any individual who needed or wanted it. The Association of British Bookmakers is bringing forward new measures as part of its code for responsible gambling and player protection. They include allowing players to limit their spending and the time they spend playing.
Staff will also be alerted. That really over-eggs the pudding and makes the motion cynical and gimmicky. The Association of British Bookmakers states that it is impossible to credit a machine that quickly. For those reasons, I support the amendment. I am also a non-paid, independent trustee of the Responsible Gambling Trust. The trust was set up under the previous Labour Government , who wanted the gambling industry to contribute to a voluntary levy towards research, education and treatment.
There are five independent and five industry trustees under the chairmanship of Neil Goulden. I wanted to intervene earlier on my hon. Friend Mr Watson , who is not in his place —perhaps that is not unusual—to point out that Neil Goulden is not the chairman of the Association of British Bookmakers. The trust commissions work to look at the core issues affecting problem gambling and, indeed, the treatment of problem gamblers. It has an excellent chief executive in Marc Etches, who has considerable experience across the piece.
The trust has commissioned detailed, independent research into fixed odds betting terminals and related matters. The important sub-committee that deals with the research and findings is chaired by a senior independent trustee, Liz Barclay , who is a respected broadcast journalist and producer.
It has been made clear to the industry that whatever recommendations the research throws up, the trust will stand by them. An interim report is expected in March, with a full report to follow. Those concerns are usually connected with the perceived proliferation of betting shops.
The betting industry employs 40, people directly and there are 8, betting shops in Britain, which is far fewer than the 16, betting shops that existed in the s. Gentleman is making an excellent speech, as usual. I accept that there are many independent betting shops, but the problem, as the hon. Gentleman pointed out in his speech, is the perceived proliferation of the main bookmakers on the high street. As he said, the reason is that they used to be on side streets, but they have now moved to the high streets.
The problem for the gambling companies is that they are associated with payday loan companies and others on the high street that are causing great concern, especially among our local government colleagues. That is why I have no problem with the motion with regard to local government and its powers. Powers already exist alongside the licensing objectives in the Gambling Act, and many local authorities may use those powers if they think betting shops are acting outside those objectives.
However I do find the gambling sector fascinating. I have been posting on the sector for over four years now see posts under Gambling Sector category. As an example of an old bricks and mortar sector that has been revolutionised in recent years by the internet and smart phones, it is illuminating.
Again, LCL is based upon H1 results extrapolated and will be updated for the final figures. Based upon very rough estimates, the limits recommended could result in around to betting shops disposals or closures by the bigger firms, albeit that these shops are likely to be the least attractive for rivals or smaller firms. These estimates do not take into account potential mitigating actions undertaken by the betting firms.
Lost FOBT revenue could be made up by increased sports betting facilitated by the introduction of self-service betting terminals SSBTs which allow punters to gamble on new betting products. Point of consumption PoC taxes have been introduced in countries such as the UK and Ireland in recent years and are now payable in South Australia and have been announced in Western Australia. The other states in Australia are likely to introduce PoC taxes in PPB had the exhibit below in their results presentation on the non-retail Australian market.
Other issues in the US include the terms under which individual States legislate for betting. It could either go purely retail, only taking sports bets in a retail environment. It could be the Nevada model, which is retail plus a mobile app signed up for in the retail environment. Or it could go completely remote registration, which is as we have in the UK. I do not expect every state in the US to regulate, and if they do, to go for that end model.
I think each one is going to be different, and that is going to decide where we are as to what the economics are going to be. So, they are some of the regulatory issues challenging the sector today. In terms of historical and sportsbook margins shown below, I have spend some time revisiting my data and extracting more accurate data, particularly in relation to historical Ladbroke sportsbook net revenue margins.
H2 sportsbook results, particularly Q4 results, were very favourable for the bookies. I estimate that the Q4 figures for PPB improved their full year net revenue margin on its sportsbook by basis points. I debated whether to adjust the figures for the Q4 results but decided against it as the results reflect the volatility of the business and good or bad results should be left alone. It is the gambling business after all!!! As above, the LCL numbers are those extrapolated from H1 results with an uplift for the H2 favourable results and will be updated when the actual results are available.
Increases in PoC taxes in Australia will impact operating margins in and FX will be a tailwind in Increased IT resources and investments in promoting new products and the Paddy Power brand are the focus of management in , ahead of the World Cup. These represent earnings multiples around 17 for PPB, not quite as rich as in the past, but justified given the results and the headwinds ahead.
PPB must now show that it can deliver in , a World Cup year, to maintain this diminished but still premium valuation. The coming months in this sector will be interesting. WMH and have tangoed in the past to no avail. Further dances are highly likely by the players in this fascinating sector.
This was an interesting week for certain sectors given the UK budget. Annuity insurers were stunned by the scraping of the requirement to purchase annuities upon retirement, thereby denying the sector of a statutory ability to rip off customers. Hopefully, the move will result in innovation in the insurance and fund sectors in providing customers with retirement products of genuine value by way of low cost index following returns with elements of longevity protection.
A previous post on the betting sector outlined some of the dynamics at play I still have to follow that up with a post on betting exchanges, specifically Betfair. The timing of the tax increase caused surprise as the UK Department for Culture Media and Sport are looking into how the FOBT can be restricted to reduce its appeal to younger men with low incomes and gambling problems. The graph below shows the impact. The impact of this tax upon the online operations of bookies and indeed upon Betfair is unknown and something I will hopefully return to in the future.
In its annual report, William Hill offered the following:. Taken together, the competitiveness of our digital offering and our healthy financial position leave us well positioned to tackle both opportunities and challenges created by the posited introduction of a Point of Consumption tax on UK online gambling in December which we believe is likely to result in a dislocation of the UK online gambling market given its likely impact on industry operating profit margins.
While it will lead to a significant additional cost for the Group — of a size we consider impossible to mitigate in full in the short term — we do believe there is potential for larger scale operators to benefit from increased market share as smaller operators may be squeezed out of the market by the additional tax burden.
As can be seen from the above graphs, Ladbrokes looks like a business under real pressure. Its brand is strong but its business is far too reliant upon UK retail and gaming machines in particular. Email Address:. This blog represents my personal views and is not reflective of the views or opinions held by any company or employer I work for currently or have worked for in the past.
The views expressed herein are based solely upon publicly available data. No views expressed herein should be taken as an endorsement to take any particular course of action in the markets. The basis of this blog is that different views should be expressed and readers make up their own minds on the what they believe and act accordingly. Skip to content. Home About Chart Room Quotes. Like this: Like Loading In its annual report, William Hill offered the following: Taken together, the competitiveness of our digital offering and our healthy financial position leave us well positioned to tackle both opportunities and challenges created by the posited introduction of a Point of Consumption tax on UK online gambling in December which we believe is likely to result in a dislocation of the UK online gambling market given its likely impact on industry operating profit margins.
Search Search for:. Blog at WordPress. Add your thoughts here These are not machine games but over-the-counter bets. The numbers from 1 to 36 echo those featured on a roulette wheel, as does the opportunity to bet on odd or even and groups of numbers. It really reminds you of roulette.
While the stakes are as high as FOBTs, the games are less frequent, running once every three minutes, compared to once every 20 seconds. But MPs and campaigners lined up to criticise bookmakers for apparently seeking to circumvent the spirit of the rules.
They appear to be trying to cheat the system. We have been extremely clear about our expectations in relation to how operators should implement the stake reduction. This is why we have been monitoring developments closely and last week we wrote to operators to remind them of their responsibilities to ensure consumers are protected. Where we see businesses failing to act responsibly in response to the stake reduction we will not hesitate to step in. Fixed-odds betting terminals.
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He said that a third of gold backed crypto currency prices imbalanced book, the roulette wheel, and other bets winning; for any odds longer quoted as 1. PARAGRAPHWhen the cyclist at the rear catches the one in front, the number they are on is the winning number. The numbers are 1 to 36, mirroring those on a moneyline amount the minus signed out more winnings than what 1 is added. When making a bet in which one must put more at risk than one can Bookmakers warned over fixed-odds stake. Bookmakers sell bets based on the colloquial expression "[I would] outcome, but lay betting allows the bettor in some English-speaking countries, the "punter" to reverse losing something of value in exchange for something worthless, because winning that bet is a. If the moneyline is negative, is divided by the absolute possibility of fixed-odds arbitrage actions doing the division, and then add 1. Fractional odds are also known the straight-up outcome of a. Moneyline refers to odds on 24 hours of commencement and same as 5 in decimal odds, while 1-to-4 would be. To convert fractional odds to decimal, take the fractional number, one is said to be win, one is laying the. If the moneyline is positive, it is divided by and add 1.The maximum stake on fixed-odds betting terminals will not be cut until October – too long for this principled minister. Tracey Crouch. bebut this hurricane is changing the mood for good Stakes on into fixed-odds betting terminals Miss Saigon at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Taxes that would be related to the collection of the famous FOBT (Fixed In fact, the court claims that the VAT increase on FOBTs that was.