Tracey Crouch, MP for Chatham and Aylesford
A Kent MP has pressed the government to take action over high street betting machines which she says are having a devastating impact on the lives of gamblers.
Chatham and Aylesford MP Tracey Crouch raised the issue in a debate in the House of Commons, saying there should be a "proper look" at machines that have been dubbed the ‘crack cocaine’ of gambling.
In a question to new sports, culture and media minister and Kent colleague Helen Grant, Ms Crouch referred to a recent report in the KM Group that highlighted how much money was being spent by gamblers.
"The minister will be aware that the Kent Messenger recently reported that gamblers lost £33m in Kent and Medway, including £1.6m in my constituency and £1.9m in her own.
"Does she agree therefore that we really need to have a proper look at the devastating impact that these high risk, high stakes machines are having?"
In reply, Mrs Grant said: "There is certainly no green light for fixed odds betting machines and we will be reviewing their existence and function very carefully."
The commitment to examine the impact of the machines was welcomed by campaigners.
Derek Webb, of the Campaign for Fairer Gambling, said: “It’s certainly a step forward to see fixed odds betting terminals (FOBTs) on the agenda in Parliament with both the Prime Minister and the new minister.
"The most positive comment from the minister was she will be willing to listen to FOBT problem gamblers.
"The bookmakers have previously argued evidence from problem gamblers should be ignored because it is anecdotal, when in reality it is very powerful testimony."