GLASGOW has more betting shops per capita than anywhere else in Britain, sparking claims the gaming industry is targeting the poorest communities with high-stake "puggies".
The Campaign for Fairer Gambling has calculated that there is now one bookmaker for around every 2458 adults, a total of 205, in the city.
That, the group has worked out, means that the city has an estimated 759 "puggies" or fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs), more than was envisaged when Glasgow made a bid for a supercasino some years ago.
Such casino-style gaming machines can swallow up to £100 every 20 seconds, up to £300 a minute, although most games involve smaller stakes.
The campaign has estimated losses in Glasgow alone of £30million a year from such machines, out of a nationwide toll of £156m, much of it, they fear, being sucked out of the poorest neighbourhoods.
Adrian Parkinson, a former gambling industry expert in "puggies" who now advises Fairer Gambling, said: "We are increasingly seeing clusters of bookies in the most deprived areas, not in posh places."
Only impoverished Liver-pool comes close to rivalling Glasgow for the per-capita density of FOBTs, according to the figures, which are disputed by the industry.
Other cities have far lower figures - Edinburgh has one bookie for every 3700 adults.
Glasgow City Treasurer Paul Rooney has been seeking new powers to restrict the rise of bookmakers in Glasgow.
A recent survey, carried out for the Evening Times, suggested the number of betting shops, almost all of which now have FOBTs, had risen by a fifth since Labour liberalised their use in 2005.
Mr Rooney said: "These figures make it clear that big-name betting shops are targeting vulnerable people in communities where there are issues with deprivation.
"You see it in Glasgow and you see it in Liverpool - more bookies, more bets and bigger losses. Our research shows firms trying to pack more shops into the same streets.
"It is the addictive power of these high-speed, high-stake casino-style machines that is driving that expansion."
A spokesman for Associa-tion of British Bookmakers said: "Glasgow has a popula-tion of half a million people so will have a lot more betting shops than less populated areas, just as it will have more bars or restaurants; and 84% of all betting shops are located in commercial centres, and exactly match the population density per square mile."