A STUDENTS’ union has ditched Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs), dubbed the “crack cocaine of gambling”, amid concern over their impact on students’ welfare.
Dundee University is believed to be one of the first UK university student unions to take such a measure.
It follows a vote by the Students Union’s Student Representative Council.
It said it was approached by several students who, after conducting extensive research, believed the machines to be highly detrimental to the financial and personal welfare of those using them.
READ MORE: Row over plans to cut stake on fixed-odds betting terminals
All four of its FOBTs have now been removed by DUSA, which
The machines, which feature highly addictive games such as roulette, have attracted fierce criticism in recent years as they allow punters to spend up to £100 per spin.
This can leave users with massive losses in just seconds.
Caroline Goodliffe, DUSA’s vice-president of student welfare, said the union took the drastic measure to help protect students’ personal and financial welfare.
She said: “Listening to concerns raised by students, a motion was brought forward to our Student Representative Council (SRC) who voted to remove the FOBTs.
“To ensure that DUSA continues to provide a safe environment for all of our members these machines have now been removed, and will not be returning.
“Today’s students study in an ever increasing high-pressure environment, where habits and addictions can easily form. DUSA are committed to providing a venue which looks out for their welfare.
“I would implore any students that feel they are struggling with addiction to seek help from local addiction services.
“We hope other venues in Dundee can take the same action to provide a city-wide approach towards the growing gambling problem.”
The news comes after the Gambling Commission, the industry’s regulator, recently recommended stakes on roulette-style FOBTs be cut to £30 or below. However, this has yet to be introduced.
The recommendations have been criticised by Tom Watson, Labour’s deputy leader and a prominent opponent of FOBTs, who said the limits do not go far enough and claimed the commission “caved into industry pressure”.
Caitlin Kavanagh, a third year biological sciences student who led the campaign, said: “The removal of the fixed odd betting machines is not only important for DUSA but an important start for the students of Dundee.
“As a member of the facilities sub-committee that took this motion forward, I am incredibly happy that we were able to make this difference and we hope to be able to continue on this work in the future.”
DUSA is regularly voted one of the UK’s best students’ unions, and features bars, cafés and a nightclub.