Government plans to review gambling machines, amid fears over the potential impact on vulnerable people, have been welcomed by city leaders and those fighting addiction.
Politicians and members of Gamblers Anonymous (GA) said they were pleased the issue was to be investigated, hoping the maximum stake of £100 per spin would be reduced.
Compulsive gambler and GA member Terry Kilgariff said people could stake up to £100 per spin on the fixed odds betting terminals, and said: “That’s why people are losing a full month’s wages in 20 minutes.
“If there was a maximum amount like £5 or £10, then at least people would have time to have a think about it.
“Whereas once you get hooked on it and start losing, the addictive side says you’ve got to win this back and that’s where it has the knock-on effect.” Terry described the review announcement as “positive”, but said: “Our scepticism suggests there’s a difference between reviewing it and doing something about it. But we certainly welcome the review.
“We are not asking bookmakers to stop altogether, we respect they’ve got to make a reasonable living and at the end of the day it is choice for people to go on these machines, but they are addictive and we are seeing more and more people coming through our doors.”
Coun John Swindell’s Preston Council’s cabinet member for planning and regulation, said the news was “welcome”, and said authorities had already called on the government to reduce the stake per spin.
He said: “If they take on board the concerns people have raised then hopefully it will make a difference.
“I just hope it’s not one of those that gets kicked into the long grass, but it’s a start. It can’t come quickly enough.”