Search

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

07:00 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

Latest Romford News Stories

Yesterday, 18:18
One of the Cessna light aircraft used to import drugs

The trusted lieutenant of a drug smuggling mastermind has been jailed for 23 years after £33.5million of cocaine was brought into Britain by air,

Yesterday, 17:13
Matthew Hopkins, Chief Executive of Queen’s and King George hospitals

The trust running King George Hospital has insisted a timeline for downgrading the A&E has not yet been drawn up.

Yesterday, 15:55
People taking part in Mud and Madness obstacle course at Stubbers Adventure Centre in Upminster to raise money for St Francis Hospice

More rain meant more mud as athletes of all ages got dirty at the weekend to raise money for St Francis’s Hospice, in Havering-atte-Bower.

Yesterday, 12:30
Joseph Ashman. Picture: National Crime Agency

A drug lord who smuggled £23 million worth of cannabis into Britain must serve an extra four years in jail for employing his wife and sister to launder his cash.

Yesterday, 11:53
Havering Sixth Form College

A teenage boy has been charged with GBH over an acid attack in a college canteen.

Yesterday, 08:42
A report on the brigades budget for 2016/17 will be discussed following a public consultation

Firefighters were called out into 70mph winds to reports of a barbecue fire last night.

Yesterday, 07:00
Cllr Wendy Brice-Thompson

Members of a disabled sports group relying on community transport will have to make their own way to the club when funding is cut.

Mon, 18:35
The fire brigade was called after a whole roof lifted up in the wind

The roof of a block of garages completely lifted up in the wind and had to be brought to the ground by the fire brigade.

Most read news

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

News from your area

WW100

Click on the banner above for full coverage of the centenary commemorations of the outbreak of the First World War.

Competitions

Sony Smart Ultra HD 55'' LED TV

Enjoy the ultimate entertainment experience in your living room with the Sony Smart Ultra 55’’ LED TV. Be the envy of all your friends with this huge TV- you can change your living room into your own cinema! Get the boys around to watch the football or get the girls around to watch the DVD of 50 Shades.. this is a prize that everyone would enjoy! Stand a chance to upgrade your current entertainment system by wining this fantastic prize.

Surface Pro 4

Technology is ever evolving. We are constantly being shown new technology that is innovative, revolutionary and designed to make life easier for us all. Gone are the days of dial up modems and computers so large you needed half a room to store it. We are in the age of smooth, small and sleek. Companies are all trying their best to create technology that is easy to transport and guaranteed to be user friendly.

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Romford Recorder
e-edition today

Subscribe