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Bridget calls for Sunderland City Council to have the power to ban high stakes gambling machines

Chamber picture 2013 03Bridget Phillipson, MP for Houghton and Sunderland South, has called on the government to back Labour’s plan to give councils the power to rid local communities of Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs).

Recent evidence shows that vulnerable people are being deliberately targeted by firms placing FOBTs on local high streets where people can bet up to £300 a minute or £18,000 an hour.

In the Sunderland area alone an estimated 224 betting shops operating with FOBTs on their premises. This means a machine for every 1230 residents.

Labour’s proposals would put betting shops in a separate class so that councils can use planning powers to control how many open. Labour would give councils the power to remove or limit the number of FOBTs in betting shops. A future Labour government would also take the steps to reduce the potentially harmful effects of FOBTs by increasing the time between plays, requiring pop-ups to break up continuous cycles of play.

Commenting on Labour’s plans Bridget Phillipson MP said:

“The clustering of betting shops can cause enormous harm to our community. It's right that a future Labour government would empower local people and local councils to decide whether they want betting shops and FOBTs on their high streets.

“The large numbers of betting machines in our area has huge consequences for families, for levels of crime and anti-social behaviour, and for the kind of communities we live in.

“The time has come to give local people and local authorities the right to decide if they want their high streets to be the place for high stakes, high speed and high cost gambling.”

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