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Time to tackle high-stakes gambling machines?
12:00pm Tuesday 29th January 2013 in News
AN MP has vowed to help review the issue of “addictive” high stakes slot machines amid claims punters are spending £1.17m per day in Dorset.
The Campaign for Fairer Gambling says £427 million was fed into high-stakes betting machines at bookmakers across parliamentary constituencies in and surrounding Bournemouth and Poole last year. See the figures here (download)
The Association of British Bookmakers has dismissed the figures as flawed because they are based on estimates of turnover at the machines rather than actual money spent.
But the Campaign maintains that a change is needed to lower the maximum spend in each machine. At the moment, gamblers can stake up to £100 every 20 seconds. The CFG would like that reduced to £2 and the time between games increased.
Conor Burns is Conservative MP for Bournemouth West, where the figures estimate that £118m spent in just 80 machines – more than £4,000 per machine per day, the highest in the region.
Mr Burns said the Commons Culture and Media Select Committee, of which he is a member, is looking at a draft of a new gambling bill in parliament.
He said: “These machines are highly addictive and are particularly profitable as they return so little to those who are putting money into them.
“We are looking into this as a committee.”
Mr Burns said in the economic downturn people are increasingly attracted to the “get rich fast options”.
The ABB claims 97 per cent of cash inserted into the machines is paid back out but the Campaign for Fairer Gambling disagrees.
£427, 074, 527 was estimated to be spent across the parliamentary constituencies of Bournemouth East, Bournemouth West, Poole, Mid Dorset and North Poole, Christchurch, South Dorset and North Dorset.
In a statement the ABB dismissed the figures, saying only three per cent of the figure estimated is spent by their customers – around £12.8m.