Council calls for restrictions on betting machines

Cllr Michael Jones SUS-140728-172030001
Cllr Michael Jones SUS-140728-172030001

Crawley Borough Council has thrown its weight behind calls to impose a maximum stake on betting machines in an attempt to cut gambling addiction.

At a meeting of the full council, Cllr Michael Jones (Lab, Bewbush) tabled a motion to support the London Borough of Newham, which wanted stakes on Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs) capped at £2 per spin.

Cllr Jones told the meeting he was concerned about the number FOBTs in betting shops in Crawley and the amounts gamblers could bet – £100 every 20 seconds.

He said: “This form of gambling is often referred to in the media as the crack cocaine of gambling because it is so addictive.

“According to figures from the Gambling Commission, in the last year over £19m was wagered on terminals across Crawley, with over £3m lost.”

While voicing support for the motion, Tory councillors asked for it to be reworded to take out what they saw as criticism of the Government.

When their amendment was voted down, every Tory councillor abstained from the final vote – but the motion was carried on Labour numbers alone.

A letter will be sent to the Department for Communities and Local Government.