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Sunday, 16 December, 2018

'I think it’s absolutely brilliant – it's going to save a lot of people'

Consumers give their views following FOBT ruling

Independent bookmakers: enjoyed a profitable 2017
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As news broke of the £2 limit on FOBT machines, professionals from both sides of the argument weighed in with their responses – but what does the punter in the betting shop think? Andrew Wilsher spoke to some of them in central London and here's what they had to say . . . 

Speaking from outside the William Hill shop on Waterloo Road Jason Clark, 22, said he uses FOBTs, but expressed his delight at the news.

He said: “It’s absolutely brilliant and it’s about time the government did something about it. I think it’s going to save a lot of people, and it’s going to stop a lot of problems. I use them sometimes but I’m not as big on them as some people are.”

Clark referred to the speed at which money can be placed on the machines as a concerning factor.

“I’ll be in the shop on a daily basis watching people lose thousands,” he added. “When you bet £5 on a race, you can then sit there and wait for it. But I’ve seen people lose £200-£300 in the space of ten minutes. It’s made my week knowing those machines are on their way out.”

Read the bookmakers' reaction here

Elsewhere, John Williams, 60, sat at a FOBT inside Betfred on The Cut, near Southwark, told how he only goes into betting shops to use the machines, and that the change would not detract him from using them in future.

“If they’re cutting it down from £100 to £2, I think it’ll really help people out," said Williams. “I only come in here to use the FOBTs, and I’ll probably carry on using them in all honesty, but that’s my decision.”

Eric Raffington, 80, regards himself as a casual user of the machines, and spoke openly about his views on FOBTs and gambling as a whole from outside William Hill on Lower Marsh, saying that moderation is key.

“It’s good for people who overspend,” he said. "You’ve got to plan for everyday gambling, especially if you’ve got a partner, or a child.

“You can’t just do whatever you feel like – you need to think about your rent, food, clothes, everything. I don’t know much about the people that overspend, but this ruling is good for the consumer.”

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I’ve seen people lose £200-£300 in the space of ten minutes
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