Search

Havering gamblers lose £12.8m in 2013 on machines dubbed ‘crack cocaine of gambling’

PUBLISHED: 07:00 09 April 2014 | UPDATED: 08:53 09 April 2014

Fixed-odds betting terminals are coming under fire. Picture: Press Association

Fixed-odds betting terminals are coming under fire. Picture: Press Association

PA Wire/Press Association Images

Gamblers in Havering lost more than £12.8m on machines labelled the “crack cocaine of gambling” last year, new stasitics show.

An estimated 7,848 people use fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs) found in high-street bookies, meaning they lost an average of £1,636 each in 2013.

In total, £67.5m was spent on the machines, which have been blamed for the “cluster” of shops in the high street due to regulations only allowing four terminals in each branch.

The figures were revealed by Local Works, whose Campaign for Fairer Gambling aims to stop the spread of bookies by putting the businesses in their own planning classification.

As it stands they can move into premises without requiring planning permission, and current law states councils must “aim to permit” new betting shops.

Sixty-two local authorities have backed the campaign, but Havering Council are not one of them.

Council leader, Cllr Steven Kelly, said: “We don’t agree with interfering with the natural process. The minute we start dictating to people how they earn their living we’re going down the path of Cromwellism.”

The borough currently has 56 betting shops with an estimated 207 FOBTs, which bring popular high-speed casino games to the high-street.

Punters are able to stake up to £300 every minute on the machines, which have been compared to crack cocaine because of their addictive nature.

Now, David Cameron looks set to introduce tougher regulation surrounding the terminals.

Penalties could be introduced for bookmakers if they fail to enforce new limits on playing times and betting losses, while pop-up alerts which flash on screens when a customer has spent £250 or played for 30 minutes could also be brought in.

A Local Works spokesman said: “The clustering of betting shops – particularly in poorer areas – has become a significant problem for many communities in recent years.”

0 comments

Comments have been disabled on this article.

Latest Romford News Stories

18 minutes ago

Hundreds of guests were invited to enjoy the first ever Children in Care and Care Leavers Awards.

A police officer’s career was left in jeopardy after he was handed a community order for downloading indecent images of children and extreme animal porn.

Yesterday, 16:36

The final acts and entertainment of the borough’s biggest summer event, the Havering Show, have been unveiled.

Yesterday, 15:52

After several months of detailed discussions, a potential merger between Havering College and Barking and Dagenham college has been called off.

Yesterday, 14:27

Cancer patients are happier with their care than previous years at the borough’s NHS trust, according to a survey.

Yesterday, 12:06

Police are unable to say how much progress has been made in deciding whether there is enough evidence to reopen an investigation into how a man came to be found dead in a cement mixer.

Yesterday, 10:27

A Year 4 pupil ended the school year on a high with a visit to the House of Lords after winning a writing competition.

Yesterday, 08:30

“Common sense prevailed” in the eyes of the council leader, as cabinet members rejected a motion calling for Havering to leave the Greater London Authority (GLA).

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Most read news

Show Job Lists

News from your area

Competitions

Having a brand new kitchen is something that lots of people want but can only dream of. Sadly keeping up to date and making our living spaces as nice as they can be is a costly and incredibly stressful business. Even a fresh coat of paint makes all the difference but isn’t easy or quick.

Who wouldn’t love the chance to go on a shopping spree. Imagine being able to walk into a shop and choose whatever your heart desires without having to worry about how much it costs.

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Romford Recorder
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now