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'Crack cocaine' of gambling: Hyndburn MP's call
A PETITION has been launched in Hyndburn to restrict the amount of money that punters can spend on betting machines, dubbed ‘the crack cocaine of gambling’.
MP Graham Jones backed calls for the government to include restrictions on fixed odds betting terminals (FOBTs) and has long campaigned against machines The machines are available in betting shops across the country, and allow punters to stake £100 on every spin.
Critics have claimed they lead to an increase in crime and are addictive.
Only four machines are allowed in each shop, but there are thought to be around 32,000 in Britain and betting shops are a common sight on the modern high street.
Mr Jones launched the petition a week after the Labour party blocked government plans to let the machines continue to allow £100 maximum bets.
The Labour MP said: “The government had the chance to reduce the maximum stake on FOBTs to £2 and has once again tried to kick the issue into the long grass.
“These machines have been multiplying on our high streets for over ten years with increasing concerns about their dangers, not just here but in Ireland where they have already been banned. It can’t go on any longer.
“And I will support any more that leads to the government taking immediate action on this issue.”
Several councils have recently passed motions calling for the machines, which can feature casino and racing games, to be banned, or for greater powers to be given to local authorities to control them.
The petition is available to sign in Mr Jones’ office in Abbey Street, Accrington, and will be distributed across the borough, Mr Jones said.
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