Gam­bling put un­der scru­tiny

MPs to ex­am­ine im­pact of bet­ting

Rutherglen Reformer - - News - Dou­glas Dickie

The MP for Ruther­glen and Cam­bus­lang has urged res­i­dents to have their views on “the crack co­caine of gam­bling.”

Mar­garet Fer­rier has been con­firmed as a mem­ber of an All Party Group on con­tro­ver­sial fixed odds bet­ting ter­mi­nals (FOBT).

She will join a panel of other MPs to ques­tion and gather ev­i­dence from wit­nesses.

In a se­ries of hear­ings, the in­quiry will be tak­ing oral ev­i­dence from the range of stake­hold­ers in the FOBT debate from gam­bling ad­dic­tion ex­perts and FOBT users, to reg­u­la­tors, book­maker chief ex­ec­u­tives and their rep­re­sen­ta­tives.

The in­quiry is also wel­com­ing writ­ten sub­mis­sions from in­ter­ested par­ties.

And Ms Fer­rier is en­cour­ag­ing con­stituents and or­gan­i­sa­tions with views on the mat­ter to par­tic­i­pate in this re­view.

In Fe­bru­ary, the Reformer re­ported that eight book­mak­ers on Ruther­glen and Cam­bus­lang Main Streets took in £1.2mil­lion a year in FOBTs.

Us­ing this ev­i­dence, the group will pub­lish a re­port set­ting out their find­ings early in 2017.

Ms Fer­rier said: “Gam­bling ad­dic­tion blights com­mu­ni­ties and house­holds across my con­stituency, and the UK.

“This in­quiry will al­low us to take a fresh look at the im­pact of FOBTs on our com­mu­ni­ties – not only in Scot­land, but across the whole of the UK.

“The gov­ern­ment has a duty of care to pro­tect the vul­ner­a­ble, and the aim of this in­quiry is to pro­vide a thor­ough and com­pre­hen­sive anal­y­sis to en­able them to do just that.

“It is time for a proper look to be taken at the im­pact of th­ese ma­chines on all our com­mu­ni­ties.”

Writ­ten sub­mis­sions should be sent to mar­garet. fer­rier. mp@ par­lia­ by July 31.

Cam­paign­ers have ac­cused book­ies of “clus­ter­ing” in ar­eas of high un­em­ploy­ment and de­pri­va­tion.

Mem­bers of the bet­ting in­dus­try in­sist steps are taken to pre­vent cus­tomers gam­bling too much on the ma­chines.

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