Local MSP Jackie Baillie has said Scottish Labour will use the powers delivered by the Smith Agreement to ban the spread of addictive fixed odds betting terminals [FOBTs].

 FOBTs are high-speed, high-stake casino gaming machines that have already been banned in Ireland due to concerns about how addictive they are.

 Gamblers can lose up to £100 on the machines every 20 seconds. FOBTs are currently limited to 4 machines per shop. This has led to betting shop ‘clustering’, where several betting shops open up within a short distance from one another to maximise the number of machines in an area. Figures show that people in West Dunbartonshire have already lost more than £3.6 million in 93 machines in the area.

 Scottish Labour will introduce legislation to stop the spread of the machines described as the “crack cocaine” of gambling as well as set up a commission to look at the impact of gambling in deprived communities across Scotland.

 Local MSP Jackie Baillie said:

 “The spread of FOBTs is a very real concern on high streets in Dumbarton and the Vale of Leven.  There are 93 of these highly addictive machines in West Dunbartonshire and people have already lost a total of £3.6 million.

 “The Smith Agreement gives Scotland no excuse for not tackling this problem. A weekend lottery ticket or a night at the bingo are a normal occurrence for lots of people in Dumbarton and the Vale of Leven but FOBTs are a rigged game.

  “That is why Scottish Labour will use the new powers coming to the Scottish Parliament to introduce legislation to ban the spread of FOBTs as well as set up a gambling commission to look at the impact of gambling in Scotland in our poorest communities

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