WITH regard to the article by Gerry Braiden ("Scots problem gamblers losing tens of millions on controversial fixed odds machines", The Herald, March 20), the figures cited use the turnover figures - a method of calculation that is inaccurate and misleading.

There are no accurate numbers of how many people in a particular area are gamblers. Business is measured on numbers of slips or the number of gaming machine sessions.

The most accurate financial measure is gross win (what operators make at profit and what customers lose in net terms).

You report that Scots lost almost £160 million on gaming machines last year, yet this is a far cry from the figures from the machine data we collate every week. Gross win from gaming machines is only around 40 per cent of total betting shop gross win; so Scottish betting companies make the majority of their money from traditional over the counter betting, particularly football betting.

Problem gambling levels in Scotland are low by international standards, have remained under 1 per cent for more than a decade and have now fallen to 0.4 per cent (source, Scottish Health survey).

However, we recognise there are real concerns about machines. Over the past year we have put a series of harm minimisation tools in place, working closely with the Government and the Regulator.

We have committed to 20 per cent of all shop windows to be dedicated to responsible gambling messages and have removed all advertising of gaming machines from shop windows.

Problem gambling is a complex issue. There is no silver bullet for it, and reducing stakes to £2 is certainly not that bullet. B2 machines are not the single cause of problem gambling.

Hilary Douglas,

Campaigns director,

Association of British Bookmakers,

25 Buckingham Palace Road, London.