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Fraser Trevor Fraser Trevor Author
Title: fixed-odds betting terminal, you can gamble a lot of money in a very short time, and it’s those characteristics that cause problems.
Author: Fraser Trevor
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Slot machine. (Photo credit: Wikipedia ) Fixed-odds betting terminals bring high-speed, high-stakes gambling to the high street. Their...
Slot machine.
Slot machine. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Fixed-odds betting terminals bring high-speed, high-stakes gambling to the high street. Their burgeoning popularity among a particular type of gambler, and the profits these create for bookmakers, have led critics to term them the ‘crack cocaine of gambling’. But there is still heated debate over whether they are in fact dangerously addictive.
No study has conclusively shown that the machines directly cause people to become problem gamblers – and a 2005 study commissioned by the Association of British Bookmakers found that they are ’not more associated with problem gambling than any other form or forms of gambling’.
But gambling experts and counsellors – as well as a vocal community of former gamblers – believe fixed-odds betting terminals and the digital roulette that is their most popular game are ‘problematic’, with features that encourage compulsive gambling. And with most of the research funded by the industry it is hard to dismiss
‘You lose your sense of money when you’re on the machines – it means nothing,’ says David Armstrong, who has battled a destructive addiction to fixed-odds betting terminals. ‘It’s so quick, you’re thinking just one more spin, just one more – until you walk out and you’ve lost it all.’
I could design you the safest slot machine in the world: all you would do is push the button once a week. But on a fixed-odds betting terminal, you can gamble a lot of money in a very short time, and it’s those characteristics that cause problems.’
Prof Mark Griffiths 
At the height of his compulsive gambling, he remembers spending £15,000 in a single day, putting up to £100 on a single 20-second spin of the roulette wheel. ‘When you start putting £100 a spin on, other people crowd around the machine: you’re on top of the world – you’re buzzing,’ he said. ‘They’re all shouting and chanting little rhymes, the buzz is incredible. And then four hours later you walk out – my goodness, what have I done?’
The speed with which you can play and then bet again – the ‘event frequency’ – helps determine how addictive a form of gambling is, experts believe.

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