PEOPLE in Glasgow are being urged to make their concerns about betting machines labelled the ‘crack cocaine of gambling’ known to the Government.

A Glasgow MP in part of the city where there are several betting shops in close proximity to one another is gathering signatures for a petition to call for tougher controls on the machines.

The UK government has been consulting on reducing the maximum stake currently £100 and slowing the speed of play to limit the losses gamblers can rack up in minutes.

David Linden, Glasgow East SNP MP plans to hand his petition into the Prime Minister later this month.

He is concerned the betting industry will lobby to have the issue of controls kicked into the long grass.

Glasgow has more than 800 Fixed Odds Betting Machines across more than 200 betting shops.

Mr Linden was in Baillieston where there are three betting shops in a row separated only by a baker’s shop.

He also visited spoke to people in Shettleston road which has branches of the same betting firms within yards of one another.

Mr Linden said: “My concern is this debate will take place in parliament and not in communities. There has always been an argument bookies have targeted poorer areas.

“I don’t want the consultation taking place and the betting lobby gets it kicked into the long grass.

“People want high streets to be diverse not every second or third shop a bookies.”

In Glasgow recent figures show losses on FOBTs top £35m a year, rising to £1bn including re-staked winnings.

Previously the Association of British Bookmakers told the Evening Times “At this time of uncertainty for the retail sector, betting shops continue to make a significant contribution to the city’s economy and retail mix, supporting almost 1,100 jobs and contributing around £24 million in taxes, including £2 million in business rates.”