It's time to lower the limit on gambling machines

For most people who like a flutter, gambling is not a problem.

It might be the annual bet on the Derby or Grand National, or an occasional visit to the bookies.

But for some, it can get out of hand and quickly.

And that can lead to devastation.

As we report today, across this area millions of pounds have been lost on fixed odds betting terminals – most of which are roulette machines that can start three games a minute.

And their settings allow players to gamble up to £100 every 20 seconds.

It’s not hard to see why some people can rack up huge losses in a short space of time.

As well as the ability to lose swiftly and heavily, these terminals are addictive – not for nothing are they known as the crack cocaine of gambling.

The group which has compiled the figures we reveal today is calling for the per-game limit to be reduced to £2.

It’s not hard to see why bookmakers might not be 100 per cent behind this idea.

The FOBTs are responsible for upwards of 50 per cent of the profits for many branches.

We know local authorities’ hands are tied.

The bookies are not breaking any rules – the machines are perfectly legal and the people playing them are adults.

But we believe it is something that should be looked at by the government.

Often it’s those who can least afford it who find themselves addicted to these machines.

No-one is saying the bookies are not responsible in taking action where they see a problem.

But surely it’s better to sort the problem at source?

A much lower per-game limit is certainly a step in the right direction.

We’ll keep you up to date on how the campaign progresses.