Paddy Power Co-Founder Says ‘Ban Crack Cocaine of Gambling

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  • Fixed odds gambling terminals allow one to place a €120 every 20 seconds
  • UK government believes some 600,000 could be addicted to the so-called “crack cocaine of gambling”
  • Paddy Power co-founder had lobbied against the terminals in 2009, paper reveals

Stewart Kenny, a founding partner in Ireland’s largest bookmaker Paddy Power, had once urged his government not to legalize gambling terminals that allow individuals to place bets at €120 every 20 seconds.

Also known as fixed-odds machines, the United Kingdom claims that some 600,000 may be addicted to the machines while most bookmakers object to their dismantling as the fixed-odds terminals are known to be a cash cow for their businesses.

The Association of British Bookmakers has previously stated that any review should be "evidence-based and not unfairly penalise the majority who gamble responsibly and enjoy their leisure pursuit”, as previously reported by the BBC.

It has said that FOBTs have been in use for around 15 years "and yet problem gambling levels have remained stable".

Kenny’s secret lobbying against the fixed-odds machines occurred in 2009, as revealed by the Irish Times.

“Let us learn from the mistake in the UK of allowing them into betting offices, once they are in it is impossible to get rid of them or even curb their more addictive elements,” Kenny told the Irish government.

The Irish government is yet to legalize the machines.  One report shows that the fixed-odds terminals have generated close to £1.75 billion while providing £400 million in tax revenues.

- Aaron Goldstein, Gambling911.com

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