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Machine limit needed to curb excess gambling

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: January 09, 2013

By ROB SMYTH

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NEARLY £100 million was spent on gambling in Burton, South Derbyshire and North West Leicestershire last year, new figures have revealed.

Research by the Campaign for Fairer Gambling estimates that £41,715,007 was spent in the parliamentary constituency of Burton during 2012.

The report also said that £22,753,640 was gambled in South Derbyshire with £34,130,460 paid out by punters in North West Leicestershire.

The research states that there are 11 licensed betting shops in Burton, six in South Derbyshire and nine in North West Leicestershire.

It also said that there were a total of 99 ‘fixed odds’ betting machines across all three areas.

Adrian Parkinson, of the Campaign for Fairer Gambling, said the figures showed that the proliferation of betting machines needed to be better limited.

He said: “Fixed odds betting terminals (FOBTs) are touch-screen roulette and casino gaming machines in betting shops, on which it is possible to stake up to £100 every 20 seconds.

“The high stakes and speed of play have led to the machines being called ‘the crack cocaine of gambling’.

“We believe the only way to stop machine-driven proliferation of betting shops is to make the machines less profitable.

In response, The Association of British Bookmakers said: “Betting shops have been located on our nation’s high streets ever since off-course betting was first made legal in 1961.

“The betting industry would welcome an evidence-based debate, but the research presented is misleading.”

The government said it was reviewing fixed-odd betting terminals and would respond to the select committee ‘within weeks’.

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