The new maximum stake limit on Fixed Odds Betting Terminals cannot come soon enough, according to councillors at Leeds City Council. The Yorkshire City licensing committee met to discuss problem gambling in the City and wider area, as Leeds prepares to become the home to the North of England’s largest gambling support clinic.
One councillor, Gary Harper who represents Little London and Woodhouse, reported on a recent visit he made to a betting shop in the centre of the city. Where he told the committee: “There was a guy stood there feeding the machine time after time. He was there for about 20 minutes and must have lost £300.”
As a result of the meeting, councillors in the city called for more to be done to help problem gamblers. Another councillor spoke of seeing a customer at a Fixed Odds Betting Terminal, kicking the machine after having lost a considerable amount of money to it.
Councillor Ryk Downes (Lib Dem, Otley) told the licensing committee: “Gambling is addictive. The very last person who can address the addiction is the addict themselves. If they can go into somewhere to get help for themselves they are not going to. There is no way an operator is forced to do anything about it if they see someone suffering from it. If they do have to, is there any way of us testing them?”
The gambling support clinic when opened will provide psychiatrists and psychologists to try and help gambling addicts with their addiction. So far a location has not been decided upon, but it is anticipated it will be announced soon.