A high-street betting chain is targeting ethnic minority communities with controversial fixed odds betting terminals (FOBTs), according to new research from a fair gambling charity.

The research from the Campaign for Fairer Gambling (CFFG) shows that 61 per cent of Paddy Power’s 327 betting shops are located in areas with above average levels of non-UK born population, such as Newham and Brent in London and parts of Birmingham, Slough and Leicester.

The disclosure that Paddy Power stores operating FOBTs are more common in areas with large non-UK born communities has angered campaigners and led to criticism of Ukip leader Nigel Farage who appeared in a tongue-in cheek-advert for the firm last year.

Adrian Parkinson, a former betting industry insider and consultant for the CFFG, said that the figures “confirmed” what many in the industry have long suspected about Paddy Power and that it was placing its shops where it could make the “highest profits” from lucrative but controversial FOBTs.

These touch-screen roulette-style machines have been dubbed the “crack cocaine of gambling” and can swallow up to £100 every 20 seconds leading to them being linked with crime and anti-social behaviour; campaigners fear they act as a “gateway” to harder forms of gambling.

It is blatantly clear to me that Paddy Power has a development strategy that was based on targeting those areas producing the highest profits on FOBTs and invariably those areas had a demographic mix with a high number of ethnic minorities, particularly Asian and Chinese. In more recent years that mix has been added to by eastern European immigrants with the Poles figuring prominently.

  • Adrian Parkinson, Campaign For Fairer Gambling consultant
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