Racing backed a loser on poisonous FOBTs and recovery will be painful

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The sport has been part of the problem for years, doing its best to keep out of the fixed-odds betting terminals debate while pocketing millions in media rights payments

Finally, the deed is done. It is too late to mend or renew the countless lives that have been blighted by high-stakes gaming on fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs), or to reclaim any of the total of about £25bn that has been sucked from the poorest communities in the country over the last 13 years. But the long-awaited – and long-overdue – decision to limit FOBT stakes to £2 does at least signal a start to the process of recovering from one of the most catastrophic blunders ever committed in the name of deregulation.

The bookmakers with big betting shops chains – Ladbrokes/Coral, William Hill and BetFred – will no doubt continue to whine about the unfairness of it all for some while yet. They have, after all, watched and marvelled as billions of pounds in entirely risk-free profits has poured onto their balance sheets since FOBTs were legitimised in 2005. As it would be for any individual or any business, the effect has been intoxicating – and ultimately addictive. Free money is pernicious. Before too long, you convince yourself that you have earned it and deserve it, and that the good times are never going to end. A finger in each ear ensures that you do not hear those who tell you otherwise.

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Written by Greg Wood
This news first appeared on https://www.theguardian.com/sport/blog/2018/may/17/horse-racing-backed-a-loser-on-poisonous-fixed-odds-betting-terminals under the title “Racing backed a loser on poisonous FOBTs and recovery will be painful”. Bolchha Nepal is not responsible or affiliated towards the opinion expressed in this news article.