HYNDBURN MP Graham Jones has praised a decision to cut maximum stakes on ‘terrible’ betting machines after ‘five years of campaigning’.

The government is to cut the maximum stake on fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs), known as the crack cocaine of gambling, from £100 to between £50 and £2.

Mr Jones said he wants to see the government set the maximum stake to lowest amount possible.

He said: “This is an issue I’ve been talking about for the past five years and I’ve been at the vanguard of the campaign.

“The decision is a victory of kind.

“I believe these machines are terrible.

“After five years the government has been forced to address an issue that concerns many members of the public.

“This isn’t just betting on the horse racing or football, this is the crack cocaine of gambling, and they are readily available on every high street.”

The high-stake, high-speed electronic casino games are said to be dangerously addictive and currently allow a stake of up to £100 every 20 seconds.

This means players can theoretically gamble away £18,000 an hour.

Four options have been suggested by the government for the new maximum stake of either £50, £30, £20 or £2.

Residents have also expressed their reaction to the plans.

Sam Buyers, 42, from Beardwood, Blackburn said: “You don’t realise at times, it is so quick and easy to keep spending money on the machines.

“You do get a bit carried away, so it’s probably for the best.”

Elliot Walker, 22, from Revidge Road, Blackburn, said: “I’m always a bit suspicious of the machines.

“It’s definitely a good move.”

David Angus, 66, from Blackburn said: “It is just too easy to use them sometimes.

“But if people want to bet on this sort of thing they still will.”

The announcement is part of a package of measures announced in the government’s gambling review.

Raising standards of player protection for online gambling, a responsible gambling campaign and new advertising guidelines are among suggestions.

The plans are designed to help minimise the risk to vulnerable people and children.

A 12-week consultation is being launched on the proposals, which are aimed at reducing the potential for large losses on the machines.

The government will consider its final proposals after the consultation ends on January 23.