Stakes are high for betting addicts
Tony Franklin once lost £3,500 on high-speed highstakes fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs) in just 39 minutes.
As recently as September he lost £2,740 in 42 minutes after a spur of the moment decision to drop in to a bookmakers.
The campaigner for the Gambling Hurts pressure group was on his way to speak at a gambling conference.
Mr Franklin said he has tried everything from abstinence to therapy to attending Gamblers Anonymous, and was finally recently diagnosed with ADHD, for which he is now being successfully treated.
He said: “Gambling has been a hugely painful part of my life. I have been homeless, living on the streets.
“It has had a huge impact on my family, my parents, my wife, my son.”
Although Mr Franklin has gambled on every form of electronic betting, he has long been particularly concerned about FOBTs.
“Roulette is an addictive game. It should never be allowed to be sped up and then put on every high street.”
He said of the decision by the government to slash stakes on FOBTs to £2: “It’s a victory for common sense and a victory for all the problem gamblers and their families who have been impacted by fixedodds betting terminals on the high street.”