Falkirk East MSP Angus MacDonald is today welcoming an indication from the Scottish Government that action will be taken to crack down on fixed-odds betting terminals.

The machines have been branded “the crack cocaine of gambling”, with a 20 second spin costing gamblers as much as £100 in some cases.

Although much of the legislation around the issue is reserved to Westminster, the Scottish Government has pledged to do what it can and hosted a summit earlier in the year looking at how planning policy could be used to tackle the problem of clustering betting shops.

Saturday’s Scotsman reports that the Scottish Government will unveil new guidelines next week.

Welcoming the report SNP MSP Angus MacDonald said:

“Fixed Odds Betting Terminals blight communities across Falkirk district – with absolutely disastrous social and economic consequences.  At the moment £100 can be blown on a 20 second spin. That’s £300 in a minute – or £18,000 every hour.  It is little wonder that FOBTs have become known as the ‘crack cocaine of gambling’.

“While much of the legislation around this issue is reserved to Westminster, the Scottish Government is already taking action where it can – in April this year a summit was held to look at how we can avoid the clustering of betting shops, which impact deprived areas in particular. I am pleased that the Scottish Government has listened to the concerns raised at the summit and look forward to hearing the full details of plans to tackle the problem.

“Westminster significantly liberalised gambling regulations in 2005 – and while the UK Gambling (Licensing and Advertising) Bill is a step in the right direction, it is a very limited one. Until Scotland becomes independent the powers of regulating gambling ultimately rest with Westminster – so the UK Government must act now to protect people and families whose lives are being ruined by these machines.”

Copyright © Angus MacDonald MSP 2017

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