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MP Calls for Government to Help Those Affected by Gambling Addiction

Countless families around Britain are struggling to cope with the weight of one member’s addiction to gambling. With online gambling making it even easier to place bets on events such as football matches and horse racing, more and more people are becoming addicted to the thrill of gambling.

There are no many online gaming sites available too, at which individuals can open accounts and spend hours betting real cash on casino-style games such as slot machines, roulette, poker, and blackjack. Provided there is access to a bank account and a way to get onto the internet, people can bet from anywhere without anyone else knowing what they are doing.

Those with gambling addictions often admit to gambling into the small hours on their mobile devices, or even gambling on the way to and from work.

Betting Machines

It is not just online gambling that is causing problems across the country. In fact, many British gamblers are facing heartache and financial ruin because of fixed odds betting terminals. These machines can be found in almost every betting shop in the UK, with up to four permitted in every single bookmaker premises. Betting machines currently allow a maximum spin of £100 and are capable of spinning three times every minute.

These have been linked to a spate of violent and aggressive behaviour towards betting shop staff and have been blamed for a growing number of individuals in towns and cities across the UK developing problem gambling habits.

Dormant Betting Accounts

SNP MP Ronnie Cowan has now asked Prime Minister David Cameron to look into the possibility of using the money lying in dormant betting accounts to help those who are struggling with gambling addictions. Mr Cameron has agreed to have a look at Mr Cowan’s idea.

Mr Cowan is the MP for Inverclyde and figures have revealed that more than 650 people in his constituency are addicted to fixed odds betting terminals (FOBTs). People around the UK are ploughing around £60 million per year on these machines, and many campaigners feel the Government needs to do more to tackle the issue.

Mr Cowan believes that the money lying in these dormant accounts could be used to help those who have been seriously affected by gambling addictions, and he highlighted the issue in the House of Commons.

Positive Action

Mr Cameron spoke on the issue and said, “We did take some action in the last parliament to deal with problem gambling in terms of the planning system and in terms of the way, particularly fixed-odds betting terminals, worked.”

He added that he would be keen to continue looking into the issue of FOBTs and will discuss it with the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport.

Mr Cowan first raised the issue in a letter to George Osborne, the chancellor. Damian Hinds MP replied to Mr Cowan to say officials were examining his suggestion.

Helping Good Causes

Mr Cowan said, “A report six years ago recommended that the UK Government consult with high street betting operators on how money from dormant betting accounts could be utilised for good causes. Yet, in 2016, we are still no further forward as the UK Government has failed to take action on this important issue.”

He believes that now is the time to take action on a serious problem that continues to have a devastating effect on Scottish families and families across the rest of the UK. He said he is happy that the Government will consider his idea and believes that money lying in dormant accounts could be used to help good causes.

Source:

  1. Greenock Telegraph 
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