Gambling losses soar as betting licences fall

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THE number of betting shops across Yorkshire fell last year despite the spiralling amounts of money punters are losing in controversial gambling machines, new figures show today.

Data published by the Campaign for Fairer Gambling suggest the number of betting shops across the region fell by about two per cent in 2013, from 771 to 758.

But as revealed by The Yorkshire Post last month, the amount of money estimated to have been lost by gamblers in glitzy electronic poker and roulette machines dubbed the “crack cocaine of gambling” soared to more than £110m over the same period, the report published by the campaign group will say today.

Campaign spokesman Adrian Parkinson said that across the country as a whole, the number of betting shops is still rising fast.

“The data estimates indicate the fixed odds betting terminal (FOBT) landscape drastically changed last year with an apparent surge in betting shop licences and a predicted growth to over £1.6bn in player losses,” he said.

“Our mapping now gives councils the opportunity to look at the impact. It will help them see through the smokescreen the bookmakers are trying to create.”

The gambling industry unveiled a new code of conduct last month in response to mounting concern about the impact FOBTs are having on some lives. The industry rejects the group’s findings, and insists most people who use the high-stakes machines are not problem gamblers.