SELBY could soon be backing national calls for a clampdown on betting machines labelled “the crack cocaine of gambling”.
Six betting shops in the district - including four in Selby town itself - currently have Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs) which let gamblers stake up to £100 every 20 seconds on casino games like roulette.
A group of MPs have called for national law changes to cut down those stakes and slow the machines down, and for local councils to get the power to stop clusters of gambling shops springing up.
Next week Selby councillors will be asked to back those calls, and reports prepared for the council shows some people in the area are already concerned.
Selby Town Council has responded to a consultation to raise some fears.
“Concern was raised over the Fixed Odds Betting Terminals and suggest that a limit to the stake being made be reduced from £100 to £2. It was felt that there is a possibility of money laundering with so much money going into the machines and other vulnerable people may be exploited with such high stakes available,” it says.
The district council does not have those powers, so the law would have to be changed nationwide to make that possible.
The recommendations have come from the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on FOBTs, which looked into the impact the machines can have and heard evidence from experts including academics, addiction specialists, policy makers and representatives from the gambling sector.
The MPs found that between 2002 and 2012 the number of FOBTs rose to over 34,000. Betting shop chains like Ladbrokes, William Hill and Coral can make more than £900 a week profit from each roulette machine, and can have up to four per shop.Their report calls for smaller stakes and slower spins to cut down the harm the machines can do, as well as more powers for local councils, and it accuses the Gambling Commission of failing to adequately advise the Government in recent years.