Fighting lack of action over betting games
A call to cap the amount of money that people can put into fixed odds betting terminals has been made by the city council.
It is possible to bet up to £100 every 20 seconds on the machines, with cash or card payments, meaning their addictive nature can cause serious financial strain for problem gamblers.
Fixed odds betting terminals can be found in bookies and games include the likes of roulette, bingo and slots. The machines display their pay-out percentage by law, but have a built-in advantage in the machine’s favour.
There are 64 fixed odds betting terminals in Cambridge in 16 betting shops. The legal maximum is four terminals per shop and every shop has the maximum number permitted.
Cllr Dan Ratcliffe said: “Fixed odds betting terminals can ruin lives and action is long overdue. In Cambridge and across Britain, traditional bookies are being turned into mini casinos with high-speed gaming machines. Evidence suggests that fixed odds betting terminals are highly addictive and that their high-speed nature makes them even more so for problem gamblers. It is vital for councils and MPs to keep speaking out on this to the Government and ignore industry pressure designed to protect profits.”
Council leader Lewis Herbert will write to the Prime Minister and Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport to call for the maximum bet to be set at £2. However, the Government, which receives £400m every year in betting duty tax from this form of gambling, has delayed a decision until after the local elections.