Former gambling addicts reveal the damage done by FOBTs

Much criticised gambling machines have again come under fire – this time from The Guardian newspaper.

Fixed-Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs), known as the ‘crack cocaine’ of gambling, are highly addictive in nature and have been closely linked with problem gambling.

A Government consultation on gambling, including reducing the maximum stake on FOBTs, closed yesterday.


Campaigners are calling for a reduction in the maximum stake that gamblers can wager on the machines from £100 per spin to £2.

Former gambling addict Martin Paterson told The Guardian that it would be “catastrophic” if the Government fails to reduce the maximum stake to £2.

Paterson said that he “ended up going crazy” using the machines.


“Before I knew it there were four machines in a shop and I’m being offered free spins.

“That’s when the pace of gambling changed and sped up to around 100 mph. It was entrapment.”

Paterson now campaigns against FOBTs, highlighting their addictive nature.

“There are horrendous feelings of guilt that come with an addiction like this. It’s silent but at its worst it takes lives.”


The newspaper also spoke to someone who lost his house and business because of his FOBT addiction.

‘Ray’ said that FOBTs “control your life”.

His addiction led to suicidal thoughts before he sought help and he believes that problem gamblers “definitely need” the Government to provide greater protection.

He is also now calling for a reduction in the maximum stake. The Government consultation proposed four new options for a maximum stake: £50, £30, £20 and £2.

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