Reino Unido: Os dados sugerem que a Paddy Power está a visar as minorias com máquinas de apostas

The bookmaker Paddy Power is targeting minority ethnic communities with controversial fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs), according to a new analysis. The study, which uses Gambling Commission data, reveals that...

The bookmaker Paddy Power is targeting minority ethnic communities with controversial fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs), according to a new analysis.

The study, which uses Gambling Commission data, reveals that 61% of Paddy Power’s 349 betting shops are located in areas with above average levels of non-UK born population.

The mapping exercise shows Paddy Power’s shops are concentrated in places such as Newham and Brent in London, Luton and Leicester and parts of Birmingham.

By comparison, only a third of William Hill’s shops and just a quarter of BetFred’s 1,375 shops are located in these areas.

Each betting shop is allowed to have up to four FOBTs – described by critics as the “crack cocaine of gambling” – which allow stakes of up to £100 to be laid on casino games with a maximum delay of just 20 seconds between wagers.

Charities have repeatedly warned about high levels of problem gambling in minority ethnic communities, citing evidence from the government’s own gambling prevalence surveys.

A study for the Responsible Gambling Trust in 2014 said there were concerns that “the odds of being an at-risk gambler were higher among non-white ethnic groups, being around 2.6-3 times higher among those from black/black British and Asian/Asian British ethnic groups”.

Betting shops in high minority ethnic areas

Percentage share of operator’s shops that are located in the 40 UK authorities with the highest percentage minority ethnic populations

Betting shops in high minority ethnic areas

With a more lucrative customer base, campaigners say it is no surprise that Paddy Power is now the most successful of bookmakers – in terms of achieving the highest profit per terminal on FOBTs.

The Irish bookmaker, which has recently bought up internet betting company BetFair to create the biggest publicly-listed online gaming company, collects about £1,300 of profit per machine compared with rivals which only manage about £1,000.

The figures come a week after the company was forced to pay £280,000 to a “socially responsible” cause after the Gambling Commission found it hadencouraged a problem gambler to keep betting until he lost five jobs, his home and access to his children. It was criticised for “failing to keep crime out of gambling and protect vulnerable people”.

Labour’s mayoral candidate, Sadiq Khan, has made the issue part of his campaign. He told the Guardian he was “extremely disturbed” by the results.

“Almost every area of London with high non-UK-born populations has been targeted by them – not just one or two shops, but dozens in the same areas and in some cases on the same high streets,” he said.

“This isn’t chasing footflow – it’s targeting the most vulnerable people, people who have come here seeking refuge and a way of improving their lives.

“It is disgraceful behaviour and reinforces why we must deal with the proliferation of betting shops in disadvantaged areas, and the addictive roulette machines which can cause so much misery.”

The Campaign for Fairer Gambling, which compiled the data, said the analysis pointed to Paddy Power’s “preference for opening shops in areas of greater ethnic mix and there is a direct correlation between these areas and higher revenues from fixed-odds betting terminals”.

Adrian Parkinson, a campaigner who was formerly a top executive in the industry, said: “Paddy Power achieves a higher return on their machines than any other bookmaker.

“They may argue they are effective at picking the right sites. We believe they are deliberately targeting those communities with populations susceptible to the kind of addictive play enabled by FOBTs.”

Last year FOBTs, which are disproportionately found in poorer parts of Britain, generated £1.7bn of revenues for bookmakers. Politicians of every party have been alarmed by the rise of the machines.

Last April the government announced that bookmakers would have to put checks in place so that punters who wanted to bet more than £50 at a time would need to set up gambling accounts.

Paddy Power has argued that it has a fewer shops than competitors and was forced to concentrate in urban areas. When the Guardian approached the company with the research, a spokesman said the firm had no comment to make.

The Association of British Bookmakers, which represents Britain’s biggest gambling firms, said it did not wish to comment.

Source: The Guardian