Glasgow gamblers bet £200m a year on machines

GLASGOW gamblers bet more than £200million each year on fixed odds betting machines.

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Glasgow has one of the biggest concentrations of betting shops in the UK
Glasgow has one of the biggest concentrations of betting shops in the UK

And according to a new report, they lose £31m of that to the bookies.

The city has one of the greatest concentrations of betting shops in Britain and a high number of fixed odds machines.

They allow gamblers to bet up to £100 every 20 seconds.

There are now fears the machines are responsible for an increase in problem gambling and that people in the least well off areas are likely to suffer most.

As a result, the city council set up a cross party group to study the rapid growth of the machines and their impact on families.

They found there are around 800 fixed odds machines operating in more than 200 licensed betting shops across the city.

Worryingly, an increasing number of payday lending companies are opening up near bookmakers, ensuring ready access to stake money.

The council sounding board took evidence from a wide range of organisations and individuals, including the Association of British Bookmakers and debt and money advice agencies.

A report from City Treasurer Paul Rooney, who chaired the group, says the ability to gamble high stakes quickly is resulting in cases of problem gambling.

Evidence suggests as many as one in 20 betting shop customers may be a problem gambler, with a number using payday lenders to fund their habit.

Mr Rooney said: "I'm not against gambling but the industry is regulated to ensure that when gambling takes place it is in a safe and responsible environment.

"In the case of fixed odds betting terminals, that principle has failed.

"The city is paying a huge price financially, socially and in terms of the health of thousands of people at risk of developing gambling problems.

"There is an urgent need for regulation to catch up with the market, which has grown at an incredible pace, and start dealing with these issues."

vivienne.nicoll@eveningtimes.co.uk

Finance

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