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Gordon blasts Government over moves to shelve betting machine review

Gordon has blasted moves to shelve a review into gambling machines known as the “crack cocaine of gamblers”.GM_PIC.jpg

The study into fixed odds betting terminals, which can see punters bet £100 every 20 seconds, was called by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport last year. But now Whitehall sources say Chancellor Philip Hammond is considering scrapping the review because it could see tax revenues plunge if stakes were restricted to £2 as has been suggested.

Gordon said if true, ditching the review would be a “disgrace” since the machines have seen people gamble themselves into poverty and cause huge social problems, particularly in poorer areas of the country and in seaside resorts.

According to the Campaign for Fairer Gambling, there are 157 of the machines in Blackpool. It claimed last August that a total of £175m was gambled on them in the previous year, netting bookmakers more than £5m.

Gordon told the Blackpool Gazette: “If it is true that the Government, led by the Treasury, is planning to scrap the review into fixed odds betting terminals which its own Department of Culture, Media and Sport has called for, it would be an absolute disgrace.

“There is ample evidence that FOBTs are not only very addictive and particularly affect poorer communities, but also they are also a big issue in seaside and coastal towns like Blackpool.

“Blackpool Council and many others have commented on the proliferation of these machines on the high streets and the negative effect they have.

“If the Government is really concerned about the loss of revenue then they should not have handed £1bn over to the DUP.

“It is obvious that Philip Hammond is afraid that the review will confirm everything that people have said about the machines.

“Any moves to cancel this review should be resisted by all parties.”

Comments and text taken from the Blackpool Gazette

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