Msp’s call on betting machines
Alex Neil is calling for action to tackle “toxic” fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs) after new figures showed North Lanarkshire gamblers have lost nearly £90 million on the machines in the past eight years–including more than £13 min 2015-2016 alone.
Statistics from the Campaign for Fairer Gambling indicate that players using the terminals across Scotland lost nearly £171,000 in that year, and more than £1.1 billion in the period from 2008 to 2016.
Now the Airdrie & Shotts MSP wants to see the UK government take steps including limiting stakes, playing time and availability of the machines, referred to as the “crack cocaine of gambling”.
Mr Neil told the Advertiser :“These are incredibly concerning figures. FOBTs are so addictive they are known as the ‘crack cocaine of gambling’– and it’s no wonder given how much people have lost out from using these toxic machines.”
With the issue remaining reserved to Westminster, Mr Neil added: “The Tory government cannot continue to ignore this issue that is having such a negative impact on our communities.
“They must stop people losing out even more – by reducing the number of machines in bookmakers, limiting the stakes, reducing the time that can be spent on the machines, and banning them altogether if people continue to lose out.
“It’s a huge problem, and the UK government need to get serious about tackling it. It’s time for them to take action to help people across North Lanarkshire.”