Voters 'want bet machines curbed'

Thurrock Gazette: Voters support curbs on gambling machines, a survey suggests Voters support curbs on gambling machines, a survey suggests

Most voters think betting machines fuel gambling addictions and should be hit by tougher restrictions, according to polling.

Around two-thirds of adults believe there are too many bookmakers on Britain's high streets and half think they are deliberately placed in poorer areas, the ComRes study for The Sunday People found.

Some 63% said the fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs) that are now common place inside encourage problem gambling and 56% want the maximum stake limit cut from £100 to £20, it added.

Punters can bet £300 a minute - £18,000 a hour - on the high speed machines and they are mainly clustered in the most deprived parts of the country.

Labour leader Ed Miliband has previously admitted his party did not go "nearly far enough" in government to control their use and has called for further curbs to be introduced.

Chancellor George Osborne announced in the Budget that the duty on FOBTs will rise to 25%.

A Government review on the machines is also under way and Prime Minister David Cameron is expected to announce details of a clampdown shortly.

Adrian Parkinson, of the Campaign for Fairer Gambling, told The Sunday People: "This polling shows conclusively where people stand on the issue of casino machines in betting shops.

"Two-thirds of people agree with a stake reduction, which means Cameron has to start listening.

"If he doesn't cut the stakes then he is completely out of tune with the voters. As for the bookmakers, every single argument they have put forward has been trashed by this poll."

He added: "Cameron needs to decide - does he believe the bookmakers, who say there are no problems with these machines, or is he going to listen to the electorate, who quite clearly say there's a problem and it needs sorting?"

:: ComRes interviewed 2,067 adults online between April 2/3.

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