Theresa May orders review of high-stakes machines dubbed ‘the crack cocaine of gambling’


Theresa May has ordered a crackdown on high-stakes gambling machines.

The Prime Minister stepped in after predecessor David Cameron last year blocked action against fixed odds ­betting terminals – which are dubbed the crack cocaine of gambling because they are so addictive.

Mrs May has now cleared the way for a review after the Sunday People led the way with its campaign to curb the casino-style machines.

We are demanding a £2 maximum stake on the units, which at present can swallow up to £100 every 20 seconds.

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And we also want the number of machines allowed in bookies cut from four to one.

Sports minister Tracey Crouch was furious when a similar review she had planned was shelved by Number 10 last year.

She told the Sunday People: I’m thrilled we’ve got to the point where social responsibility is now at the heart of the Government’s programme.

We can now get on with looking at these machines properly.

And Adrian Parkinson, of the Campaign for Fairer Gambling , added: For six years, David Cameron buried his head in the sand over FOBTs.

“He promised to take a proper look at them but failed to deliver anything meaningful.

Now, these highly addictive machines are going to be scrutinised like never before and the charade is over for the bookmakers.

The link between FOBTs, problem gambling, crime, antisocial behaviour, violence and money laundering will all come under the spotlight in the review.

The 35,000 machines that are currently on high streets rake in £1.7 billion a year for bookmakers – and MPs have accused the industry of ­deliberately clustering the terminals in poorer areas.

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Average losses in Labour constituencies were £3 million compared with £2 milion in Tory areas.

GamCare, a charity that helps ­people with gambling problems, has had a 20 per cent increase in calls to its helpline over the past five years.

Drug smugglers and criminals have also used FOBTs to launder dirty money, feeding in notes sprayed with dye to get clean ones out.

News Source MirrorNews

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