Christopher Snowdon writes for Public Service Europe

Although it has been more than 50 years since betting shops and casinos were legalised in Britain, periodic moral panics about gambling continue to surface. The current bête noires of anti-gambling campaigners are ‘fixed odds betting terminals’ or FOBTs, devices which offer virtual casino games such as roulette and blackjack.

These machines are routinely dubbed ‘the crack cocaine of gambling’. It is claimed that players can lose £18,000 in an hour. They are blamed for a rise in problem gambling. It is said that Britons lose £42bn on the machines every year. And it is claimed that betting shops have proliferated as they scramble to cash in on the popularity of the machines.

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