Over £1 billion has been lost on the machines, known as the ‘crack cocaine of gambling’, since 2008 across Scotland – with £2.5 million lost in East Lothian in 2015/16 alone.
The figures have led to calls from SNP MSP Colin Beattie for the UK government to take action to tackle FOBTs, which remains reserved to Westminster – including by reducing the numbers allowed in betting shops, limiting the stakes that can be bet, reducing the time that can be spent on the machines, and also taking action to ban the machines altogether if people continue to lose out.
Commenting, SNP MSP Colin Beattie, Midlothian North and Musselburgh, said:
“These are incredibly concerning figures – and show that the Tory government cannot continue to ignore this issue that is having such a negative impact on our communities.
“People across Midlothian and East Lothian have lost out to the tune £23 million since 2008 – and £3.5 million in 2015/16 alone. This is a huge problem – and the UK government need to get serious about tackling it.
“FOBTs are so addictive they’re known as the ‘crack cocaine of gambling’ – and it is no wonder given how much people have lost out from using these toxic machines.
“The UK government must take action to stop people losing out even more – by reducing the number of machines allowed in bookmakers, limiting the stakes that can be bet, reducing the amount of time that can be spent on the machines, and taking action to ban the machines altogether if people continue to lose out.
“The Tories have dug their heels on this issue for long enough – it is time for them to take action to help people across Midlothian and East Lothian.”