High-stakes gambling machine crackdown rejected
Published: 11th Jan 2013 03:42:19
The government has ruled out a crackdown on high-stakes gambling machines from betting shops despite warnings about their addictive nature.
The machines can accept stakes of up to £100 and offer prizes of £500.
Culture minister Hugh Robertson said there was little evidence they caused serious problems despite an MP calling them the "crack cocaine" of gambling.
The Campaign for Fairer Gambling said the casino-style machines were often used by people with gambling problems.
In a Commons debate on Thursday, Mr Robertson rejected the idea of creating new laws to restrict the machines or the betting shops where they are located.
The minister said he would only change the law if there was new evidence.
A recent Commons Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee report recommended that local authorities should be able to allow bookmakers to operate more than the current limit of four high-stakes gambling machines per shop.
The Campaign for Fairer Gambling said the machines should be banned from betting shops on the High Street with immediate effect.
The organisation, backed by psychologist Professor Jim Orford, said they were too addictive and should be restricted to casinos only.
Matthew Zarb-Cousin, a former gambling addict now with the Campaign for Fairer Gambling, told the BBC that the maximum £100 stake encouraged dangerous gambling patterns.
He said a maximum stake of £2 should be introduced, effectively banning the high-stakes machines from prominent locations.
However, Mr Robertson said the government would be prepared to bring in new laws to clamp down on the spread of betting shops.
Labour MP Kelvin Hopkins said problem gambling "ruined lives and destroyed families" and called on the government to take a tougher stance.
He said: "The most addictive form of gambling is on fixed-terminal gambling machines. They are indeed described as the crack cocaine of problem gambling. Is the government seriously concerned about gambling addiction and when are they going to address the problem?"
In reply, Mr Robertson said the Responsible Gambling Trust was carrying out an investigation into the use of fruit machines and problem gambling.
But he said any new laws would be based on research not anecdotal evidence.
"This is one of those quite tricky areas where common sense suggests there is a major problem but there is a lack of evidence to back this up," he said.
"I very much hope that the major research project that is being undertaken will give us the necessary evidence that we need and absolutely, once that is proved, the government will act."
Culture committee chairman John Whittingdale said he "shared the concerns" about the machines and there was a "desperate need" for more research.
At 13:57:08 in SportNorthern Ireland medal hopefuls Aileen Reid, Sycerika McMahon, Madeline Perry and Lisa Kearney will be among the athletes in action in Thursday's first day of Commonwealth Games competition.
At 13:54:23 in PoliticsDavid Cameron is under fire over a £160,000 donation to the Conservative Party from the wife of a former member of President Putin's government.
At 13:53:57 in ScotlandA man who went on the rampage in a stolen bin lorry, trying to ram police cars and crashing into a bridge, has been jailed for four months.
At 13:51:27 in Northern IrelandA County Antrim man has avoided prison for breaking into an Alliance Party office with an axe and crowbar.
At 13:49:08 in Northern IrelandSocial Development Minister Nelson McCausland has denied misleading his department's oversight committee.
At 13:41:02 in TechnologyThe BBC is using the Commonwealth Games to experiment with new ways of delivering TV coverage of live events.
At 13:39:20 in EnglandWelfare tribunal cases are having to be heard in hotel rooms to help tackle a backlog in Leicester.
At 13:37:34 in ScotlandScottish shops struggled in June after a promising early spell of warm weather, according to industry figures.
At 13:34:13 in SportGalatasaray have entered the race to sign Cardiff City's Chilean star Gary Medel.
At 13:33:28 in WalesA vote to find the most special location in Wales has been launched by the National Trust.
Harvard CitationBBC News, 2013. High-stakes gambling machine crackdown rejected [Online] (Updated 11th Jan 2013)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/1474747/High-stakes-gambling-machine-crackdown-rejected [Accessed 23rd Jul 2014]
News In Other Categories
A County Antrim man has avoided prison for breaking into an Alliance Party office with an axe and crowbar.
A vote to find the most special location in Wales has been launched by the National Trust.
David Cameron is under fire over a £160,000 donation to the Conservative Party from the wife of a former member of President Putin's government.
A man who went on the rampage in a stolen bin lorry, trying to ram police cars and crashing into a bridge, has been jailed for four months.
Popular Somali musician and member of parliament Saado Ali Warsame has been shot dead.
With the doors to its brand new £1million training centre officially open, one of the UK's leading apprentice training providers, Bristol based S&B Automotive Academy, is showcasing its world-class facilities by launching a series of foreign student exchanges for the first time in its 41-year history. To get a flavour of what life is like as an apprentice in the UK, the Academy hosted 16 apprentice engineers and bus drivers from the G9 Automotive College in Hamburg, Germany, as part of a Europe-wide vocational training initiative called the ‘Leonardo Programme’ with support from the European Social Fund. In a reciprocal arrangement, S&B will be sending nine apprentices to Germany during February 2012 so that they can get an appreciation of life in the automotive industry on the Continent. A further three German exchange groups are being planned for next year. Designed to assist the development of vocational skills and training across Europe, including work placements for trainees, the Leonardo Programme has a budget of €1.75bn, which is helping to encourage UK organisations to work with their counterparts abroad. In what is expected to be another challenging year for employers in the UK automotive sector, S&B’s Chief Executive, Jon Winter, claims that the exchange initiative will bring many benefits to the Academy and its apprentices: “In a world of global automotive brands, it’s important for our learners to understand the international context of the industry they have chosen to make their career. This new exchange programme will enable apprentices and Academy staff alike to achieve a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities within the automotive arena in Europe. With the Academy’s influence also extending to the USA and Asia, there’s every possibility that this initiative could move further afield in the future.” Continued Winter: “The need for skilled technicians across the world is on the increase and we actively encourage our apprentices to look at broader horizons during their training. Many of them have already learned the phrase ‘Vorsprung durch Gelehrtheit’, quite simply, ‘Advancement through learning.” In the 2010/11 academic year, S&B doubled the number of successful Apprenticeships over the previous year with some 350 apprentices graduating from the Academy. At the same time, achievement levels reached an all-time high with an overall success rate of 85%. For those learners on the Advanced Apprenticeship three-year programme, success rates were even higher, at over 98%. PHOTO CAPTION: As part of their exchange visit, S&B Automotive Academy arranged for the German apprentices to visit Hampshire bus operator, Bluestar, at its Barton Park depot. The students are pictured with S&B’s Andy West (3rd right) and Steve Prewett, Bluestar’s Area Engineering Manager (2nd right). Ends http://www.sandbaa.com