Hyndburn MP Graham Jones and betting chain William Hill at odds over shops (From Lancashire Telegraph)
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Hyndburn MP Graham Jones and betting chain William Hill at odds over shops
HYNDBURN MP Graham Jones and bookies William Hill have got all of a flutter over betting shops in the borough.
Mr Jones said, on his website, he was concerned there were 22 of the shops, but the bookies have disputed this, saying there are only 12.
Now Hill’s have invited him to visit a Hyndburn betting shop to research gambling, and offered a free charity bet to update his understanding of the odds.
Last week Mr Jones blogged: “I am deeply concerned about the number of bookmakers in Hynd- burn and Haslingden, and the impact of the Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs) that appear to be driving this growth.
“Fairer Gambling indicate there are as many as 22 in Hyndburn.
“The reason behind this increase, I believe, is the profit-ability of FOBTs. The Gambling Act 2005 limited each betting shop to four, but bookies leap-frog regulations by opening up as many shops as possible.FOBTs have been described as the “crack cocaine of gambling” because of their propensity to turn people who enjoy a bet into problem gamblers.
“It is possible to stake up to £100 every twenty seconds on the machines, and to lose up to £18,000 an hour.”
Accusing Mr Jones of ‘some pretty wild and inaccurate stat-ements’, William Hill’s public affairs manager Lewis Rogers said: “Mr Jones said that there were are as many as 22 betting shops in Hyndburn, and that bookies were ‘opening up as many shops as possible’.
“There are only 12 betting shops in Hyndburn.
“Mr Jones described gaming machines as the ‘crack cocaine of gambling’. However there is no research to suggest that gaming machines have any effect on the way people gamble.
“Mr Jones then went on to claim that ‘it’s possible to lose up to £18,000 an hour’ on gam-ing machines. We ran the odds and, as machines generally return at around 97% to player, this is extremely unlikely.
“Unfortunately, for Mr Jones, you are actually more likely to win the National Lottery seven weekends in a row.
“It is a shame that Mr Jones saw fit to criticise a business that provides local jobs and training in his constituency on the basis of flawed research and hasty judgement.
“It appears Mr Jones bolted from the stalls, rather than analysing the form on this occasion.”
Mr Jones said: “I stand by my concerns,. The figures were not mine, but came from Fairer Gambling.”