Machine gamblers bet £80m
Punters across Newmarket and Mildenhall have gambled nearly £80 million in betting shop games machines over the past 12 months, a survey has revealed.
Figures released by the Campaign for Fairer Gambling group have shown that £79,637,740 was gambled on Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBT) by those living in MP Matthew Hancock’s West Suffolk constituency, which includes Newmarket and Mildenhall.
The total is based on figures from 76 FOBT machines in the constituency, of which more than 50 are in betting shops in Newmarket and Mildenhall.
Abreakdown of the figures shows that £1,047,865 is staked in each machine per year – £2,870.863 per day and £119.62 per hour.
“The figure is a concern and the problem is that some of these machines allow people to stake up to £100 per 20 seconds. These sort of games should not be easily accessible on the high street.” said Adrian Parkinson, consultant for Campaign For Fairer Gambling.
Although the statistics make for grim reading, Newmarket Town Mayor George Lambton is concerned at the accuracy of the figures.
“Just looking at the statistics it is hard to arrive at a conclusion as a lot of the figures are based on national averages while they do not show the actual figure gambled in Newmarket,” said Cllr Lambton.
“However, I welcome the attempts made to bring this to the Government’s attention. Hopefully, some national legislation will be put in place as the machines are highly addictive.”
Reacting to the figures, a spokesman for the Association of British Bookmakers said: “Betting shops are heavily regulated and socially-responsible businesses.
“We acknowledge that there is some public concern around the issue but there is no proven link between FOBT machines and problem gambling.”
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