Fight is on to get rid of fixed odds machines

A fixed odds betting machine
A fixed odds betting machine

Politicians want a crackdown on controversial, highly addictive fixed odds betting machines they say are ruining lives.

Both East Falkirk MP Michael Connarty and Falkirk East MSP Angus MacDonald believe the terminals, first introduced into UK betting shops in 2001 and now labelled the “crack cocaine of gambling”, are a blight on local communities.

Mr Connarty has been raising the issue at Westminster for almost a year.

He said: “Even registered gambling addicts can walk into these places and use these machines. The big betting chains know they are making a fortune from people who are just throwing their money away.

“It’s an appalling form of gambling and I would like to see these terminals banned. Failing that, there should be more controls placed on them. Restrictions can be put in place to protect the public from these machines, like placing limits on how many times someone can use them.”

A fixed odds terminal allows players to bet on the outcome of various games and events.

Mr MacDonald said: “At the moment £100 can be blown on a 20 second spin - that’s £300 a minute, £18,000 an hour. While much of the legislation around this issue is reserved to Westminster, the Scottish Government is already taking action where it can, looking at ways we can avoid the clustering of betting shops.”

The Association of British Bookmakers said any proposals to crack down on the terminals could place the future of hundreds of betting shops and thousands of jobs in jeopardy.