Gambling addiction is fuelling unemployment

Almost 1 in every 30 people know someone who has lost their job because of their gambling habit, a new report has found.

A study by employment agency Reed in Partnership showed that three per cent of British adults know a person who has lost their job as a consequence of gambling addiction.

It also called upon policy makers to address the risk posed to the unemployed by controversial fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs).

Crack cocaine

The study showed that unemployed people are twice as likely to use FOBTs, known as the ‘crack cocaine’ of gambling.

Criticism of FOBTs, which allow users to bet up to £100 every 20 seconds, has been gathering pace in recent months.

Politicians at Westminster and Holyrood have sought to introduce legislation which would alleviate the harm the machines are causing.

Lower stakes

In December last year, MSPs in the Scottish Parliament’s Local Government and Regeneration Committee called for an all-out ban on FOBTs. However, there has been no move to introduce a ban so far.

Last month, a cross-party group of MPs urged ministers in the House of Lords to support a Bill to lower the maximum stake on FOBTs to just two pounds.

The Bill passed its second reading and will progress to Committee stage.


Currently there are thought to be 35,000 fixed-odds betting terminals across the UK, with many being in some of the most deprived areas.

Figures from March 2014 revealed that in the nine most deprived council areas of Scotland, £2 billion was wagered on FOBTs over the previous year.

The Reed in Partnership study, carried out by YouGov, is based on an online survey of 2,042 adults in Britain.

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