Millions lost to machines in one year
MSP wants UK Government to act
People across South Lanarkshire lost £13million in betting machines known as the ‘crack cocaine of gambling’ in just one year.
Figures, released by the Campaign for Fairer Gambling, show the cash was spent at fixed odds betting terminals in the county in the 2015/16 financial year.
Since 2008 more than £88m has been lost to the machines, dubbed the crack cocaine of gambling because they have proved hugely addictive.
Clare Haughey, MSP for Rutherglen, said the figures reflected a “huge problem” in the local community and called on the UK Government to tackle the issue head on.
She said: “These are incredibly concerning figures and show that the Tory government cannot continue to ignore this issue that is having such a negative impact on our communities.
“People across South Lanarkshire have lost out to the tune of £88m since 2008 and £13m in 2015/16 alone. This is a huge problem – and the UK Government needs to get serious about tackling it. “FOBTs are so addictive they’re known as the ‘crack cocaine of gambling’ and it is no wonder given how much people have lost out from using these toxic machines. “The UK Government must take action to stop people losing out even more – by reducing the number of machines allowed in bookmakers, limiting the stakes that can be bet, and reducing the amount of time that can be spent on the machines. “The Tories have dug their heels in on this issue for long enough – it is time for them to take action to help people across South Lanarkshire.”
Reverend Neil Glover, of Flemington Hallside Church, said more needed to be done to address this growing problem.
“These figures are clearly shocking,” he said.
“The fact that there is so much money lost to these machines would suggest this is a hidden problem that people are not able to talk about.
“It seems to me that we are able to talk about addiction to alcohol and to drugs but we find it very hard to talk about addiction to gambling, whether that’s at fixed odds betting terminals or online gambling at home, and I fully support our MSP in her efforts to draw attention to this and address this problem.”
The UK Government’s department for digital, culture, media and sport was asked to comment but failed to respond as the Reformer went to press.
AddictiveFixed odds betting terminals are described as the crack cocaine of gambling
ConcernClare Haughey MSP says the figures are shameful