Politicians unite over gambling machine danger

Kate McCann
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DAVID Cameron shares Labour’s concerns about high-stakes betting terminals in gambling shops, he told MPs during a subdued Prime Minister’s questions yesterday.

The issue of fixed-odds gambling machines, that allow customers to place large bets of up to £100, was raised in parliament by Ed Miliband, ahead of a Labour-backed debate yesterday. A government review is currently underway to look at how terminals could be regulated more tightly in order to prevent people from losing vast sums of money quickly, but Labour MPs have been pressing for a change in the law to prevent betting shops from getting around current restrictions on the number of terminals allowed, by opening multiple premises on the same high street.

The Labour motion was defeated last night, with only one Conservative MP, Zac Goldsmith, voting with the opposition, but during Prime Minister’s question time yesterday David Cameron said: “It is important that we get to grips with this,” adding that there must be empirical evidence to prove that the machines cause lasting damage before legislation could be considered. “If we work together, we can probably sort it out,” he told Miliband.

Clive Efford, Labour’s shadow Minister for Sport, praised cross-party support during the debate, adding that Labour would press hard for change after the government’s review reports in March. “People will be expecting action, they’ll be demanding it,” he said.