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FIXED-ODDS BETTING TERMINAL CRACKDOWN ‘DELAY’ CRITICISED BY MSP
Rutherglen MSP Clare Haughey has slammed an announcement by the UK Government that the maximum stake on fixed-odds betting terminals will not be reduced until October next year – six months later than expected.
After holding a public consultation, the UK Government announced in May that the highest stake punters can bet on the machines will be slashed from £100 to £2. Currently, the machines, often dubbed the crack cocaine of gambling, allow players to stake up to £500 per minute on computer versions of games including poker, roulette, and blackjack.
A study undertaken by the British Amusement Catering Trade Association, found fixed-odds betting terminals are costing South Lanarkshire £10.1 million a year in lost money, health expenses, and job problems associated with addiction to the terminals. Neighbouring local authority Glasgow loses a staggering £27 million a year – more than any other council area in the UK.
As we reported last September, people across South Lanarkshire spent £13 million on the machines in the 2015/16 financial year alone.
The UK Government’s sports minister, Tracey Crouch MP, resigned on the 1st November due to her government’s delay, arguing in her resignation letter that there was “no reason why implementation cannot come in sooner than October”. Ms Crouch’s comments echo that of Rutherglen MSP Clare Haughey who has long been critical of the machines.
Commenting, Clare Haughey MSP said:
“I’m incredibly disappointed, and indeed very angry, that the UK Government will not reduce the maximum stake of fixed-odds betting terminals to £2 until October 2019.
“For every person addicted to these machines, there is an economic cost in terms of job prospects, health, crime and relationship issues.
“It’s estimated that from the time of the announcement to reduce stakes and its implementation, over £1.6bn will be lost on these machines whilst two people will tragically take their life every day due to gambling related problems.
“It’s imperative that the UK Government acts now before the communities of Rutherglen and Cambuslang are further damaged.”
Below is a photograph of Clare Haughey MSP previously supporting the £2 stake.
Further information regarding the British Amusement Catering Trade Association can be read here (behind pay wall): https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/glasgow-pays-higher-price-for-its-addiction-to-gambling-machines-7kb3c5x5c
Rutherglen Reformer article cited can be read here:
Date published: 2nd November 2018