Search

Free 40-page supplement celebrating the Queen’s record reign in this week’s Recorder

On sale September 4

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 News Stories

14:18
Ghenadie Stogu, 36, was last seen leaving his home on Dunser Road, Collier Row at around 11am on Monday.

Police searching for a 36-year-old from Collier Row have found the body of a man.

More than a quarter of pubs in the borough have closed since the 70s PICTURE: Getty Images/iStockphoto

More than a quarter of pubs in Havering have closed since the 1970s, according to a campaign group.

11:39
The crash happened at the junction with Lodge Avenue. Picture: Google Maps

A three-vehicle smash outside a school yesterday resulted in two people being taken to hospital.

13:12
Rehearsals at the Brookside Theatre in Romford for Nights on Broadway

A reader is set to be transported to the world of musicals this week after winning a Recorder competition.

Most read news

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

Get ready to take in the beautiful sights of London from above!

Are you always seeking unique ways to see your favourite city? This one is for you.

Shop till you drop!

Home to top name brands at great prices, TK Maxx is more like a treasure hunt than a shop. Perfect for grabbing a bargain or some hidden gems, you arm yourself with a trolley and go wild.

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Romford Recorder e-edition today E-edition
Family Notices 24


Our trusted business finder