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£200m poured into fixed odds machines

Gamblers in Scotland's biggest city are spending more than £200 million on controversial fixed odds betting terminals every year, an investigation found.

More than £500,000 is ploughed into around 800 machines in around 200 betting shops in Glasgow every day, the city council study found.

Punters typically stake more than £12 on each spin on fixed odds betting terminals (FOBT).

Glasgow City Council's cross-party sounding board study is believed to be the first in Britain to try to gauge the impact high-speed, high-stake gambling machines have on communities.

It stops short of calling for FOBTs to be banned but recommends a new approach to regulating gaming and urges regulators to commission detailed research to establish the impact of allowing casino-style gambling on the high street.

Councillor Paul Rooney, chairman of the cross-party sounding board and Glasgow's city treasurer, said: "I'm not against gambling, but the industry is regulated for a reason - to ensure that when gambling takes place in our communities it is within a safe, sustainable and responsible environment.

"In the case of fixed odds betting terminals, that principle has failed.

"More than a dozen years after machines appeared on our high streets, neither the industry nor its regulators are able to identify to what extent - if any - the intense speed of play, the ability to win large prizes with relatively low stakes, and the opportunity to increase stakes rapidly influences problem gambling.

"In the meantime, Glasgow has become home to more than 200 street-corner casinos, without our communities ever having had the opportunity to consider whether they want them."

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Local government

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