Campaigners say they have led to untoldld misery for punters who have been plunged into debt and seen their lives fall apart.
Customers have lost £11billion on FOBTs since 2008. The machines let you stake up to £100 every 20 seconds on bets designed to look like fun casino games such as roulette. The Sunday People has led the way in campaigning for the maximum stake to be cut to £2.
Some research shows the machines have caused the government to money, rather than raking in profits for the Treasury.
But the most alarming findings show that FOBTs are clustered in some of the worst-off areas across the land.
A spokesman for the Campaign for Fairer Gambling said: “Bookies proliferate in our most deprived areas. The Government must reduce the maximum stake to £2 a spin.
“This would eliminate the addictive roulette and casino content, which in far too many cases leads to harm and addiction.”
The latest figures, for 2016, show a dramatic difference between the number r of machines in deprived and affluent nt areas. Top are the Cities of London and Westminster. Here gamblers lost £31million in 120 betting shops, an average £250,000 in each shop.
Other London boroughs dominate the top ten.
Outside the capital the biggestst spend was in Liverpool Riversidede – £8.1million in 53 shops
In Manchester Central, punters spent £7.2million in 50 shops. Other hotspots were Birmingham Ladywood, with £7million in 38 shops, and Leeds Central – £6.3million in 40.
Slough, Berkshire, is another problem area with £5.6million spent in 30 shops.
The figures contrast drastically with the richer areas. There are no FOBTs in Henleyon-Thames, where the average house price is well over the national average and Hollywood star Orlando Bloom has a place.
Well-heeled Wirral West has two betting shops with £299,000 taken by their FOBTs. York Outer, North Herefordeford and Broadland in East Anglia glia also have low FOBT counts.
There are 43 constituencies ncies with more than 30 betting ting shops. More than 70 per cent have an above average ge c l aimant c ount f or jobseeker’s allowance.
The Association of British Bookmakers said:aid: “Betting shops no more target deprived areas than han Marks & Spencer. Thereere are more in the largestst commercial centres. We operate where there are e the most customers.”
CHALLENGE: Minister Tracey Crouch