Menston and Burley MP comes under fire over claims about gambling

MP Philip Davies

MP Philip Davies

First published in Local news

Menston and Burley-in-Wharfedale MP Philip Davies clashed with anti-gambling campaigners calling for a crackdown on addictive high-stakes betting machines.

Mr Davies (Con, Shipley) is under fire after a Commons debate on the spread of fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs).

The Campaign for Fairer Gambling criticised the Responsible Gambling Trust (RGT) saying it was failing to take the problem seriously.

And it attacked Mr Davies for rejecting claims that problem gambling was on the rise, linked to bookmakers installing many more FOBTs.

Mr Davies declined to comment, but has previously described the calls for a crackdown as “ridiculous” and based on a series of “myths”.

Bradford is among a growing number of local authorities warning they are powerless to prevent the spread of FOBTs, once dubbed the “crack cocaine” of gambling.

Punters are able to bet £300 every minute on the video machines, which offer virtual versions of casino games such as roulette.

Figures released last year suggested a staggering £400m was gambled in a single year across the Bradford area – which has 371 FOBTs, in 102 betting shops.

During the recent debate, Mr Davies said: “FOBTs are in decline. According to the Gambling Commission, four per cent of adults played them in 2010 and the figure dropped to 3.4 per cent in 2011-12.

“And, in 2013, all bookmakers reported a decline in the gross win from FOBTs.”

Mr Davies is one of four MPs who have signed an Early Day Motion saying Parliament should be concerned by the campaign.

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