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

14:41
A taxi driver died after crashing into the bus stop in Station Lane, Hornchurch

A taxi driver has died and two passengers were injured after a car crashed into a bus stop.

Lisa Wright will be performing at the Havering Show this year.

As excitement builds for this year’s Havering Show two more performers have been announced.

10:00
A127 Ardleigh Green Bridge

Road users and nearby residents are preparing for 10 months of travel “chaos” as part of the A127 is set to become a single carriageway.

Yesterday, 10:08
Members of the Habbit Factory

A friendly and inclusive drama group are inviting children of all abilities to join.

Fri, 19:51
Travellers who set up camp in the closed park in OldChurch Road, Romford.

One man was arrested on suspicion of fly tipping and criminal damage as travellers were moved on from Oldchurch Park early this morning (Friday)

Fri, 18:29
Tony Cottee celebrates a goal for West Ham

West Ham “legend” Tony Cottee, will be visiting The Liberty Shopping Centre tomorrow for the opening of a betting shop.

Fri, 14:14
Officers line South Street as they prepare for revellers to leave Fiction nightclub

Sat in a police van, officers switch their gaze up and down Romford town centre watching for any disorder.

Fri, 13:59
Walthamstow Coroner's Court

A father-of-three whose body was found in a tree at a Romford school had a history of depression, an inquest has heard.

Newsletter Sign Up

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

Which book character do you share cleaning habits with?

Whether you have more in common with put-upon Cinderella, emotionally turbulent Jane Eyre, or easily distracted Mole, you’re sure to appreciate four sessions of free cleaning. Enter our quiz for your chance to win. All entrants can get £10 off their first clean when making a repeat booking.

£15k prize bundle

Imagine having the opportunity to win an incredible £15,000 bundle of some of the most amazing prizes available. Well, for one lucky contest entrant that dream could soon become a reality because we at MyOffers are offering an incredible free prize bundle that will make even the most hardened person wild with excitement.

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