SNP MSP DEMANDS TOUGHER UK GOVERNMENT ACTION ON FOBTS

OVER £89,979,230 LOST ON GAMBLING MACHINES IN NORTH LANARKSHIRE SINCE 2008

SNP MSP for Coatbridge & Chryston Fulton MacGregor has called on the UK government to take tougher action to tackle the scourge of Fixed-Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs) in our local communities – after figures from the Campaign for Fairer Gambling revealed that over £89,979,230 had been lost on the gambling machines since 2008 across North Lanarkshire.

Over £1 billion has been lost on the machines, known as the ‘crack cocaine of gambling’, since 2008 across Scotland – with £13,281,361 lost in North Lanarkshire in 2015/16 alone.

gambling

The figures have led to calls from SNP MSP Fulton MacGregor for the UK government to take action to tackle FOBTs, which remains reserved to Westminster – including by reducing the numbers allowed in betting shops, limiting the stakes that can be bet, reducing the time that can be spent on the machines, and also taking action to ban the machines altogether if people continue to lose out.

Commenting, SNP MSP Fulton MacGregor said:

“These are incredibly concerning figures – and show that the Tory government cannot continue to ignore this issue that is having such a negative impact on our communities.

“People across North Lanarkshire have lost out to the tune of over £89 million since 2008 – and over £13 million in 2015/16 alone. This is a huge problem – and the UK government need to get serious about tackling it.

“FOBTs are known as the ‘crack cocaine of gambling’ – and it is no wonder given how much people have lost out from using these toxic machines. The impact of these machines and the problem gambling associated on individuals and their families’ physical, mental and emotional health and wellbeing is also quite evident. We must do more to protect these people.

“That is why I believe the UK government must take action to stop people losing out even more – by reducing the number of machines allowed in bookmakers, limiting the stakes that can be bet, reducing the amount of time that can be spent on the machines, and taking action to ban the machines altogether if people continue to lose out.

“I have raised these concerns directly with the regional director of Ladbrokes / Coral Bookmakers who have numerous shops across my constituency, but I feel that ultimately the UK government hold a responsibility for regulating FOBTs. The Tories have dug their heels on this issue for long enough – it is time for them to take action to help people across North Lanarkshire.”

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