Kent

Medway bookmakers sign up to gambling partnership

Betting machine
Image caption Medway Council said it was possible to bet up to £18,000 an hour

High street bookmakers have signed up to a partnership with Medway Council to help tackle the problems associated with some betting machines.

Fixed odds betting terminal (FOBT) machines allow gamblers to spend up to £18,000 an hour.

Medway Council said gambling debts could lead to domestic abuse, stress and self-harm.

The Medway Responsible Gambling Partnership has said it will hold forums four times a year.

It will look at extending a scheme in which gamblers can look to get a voluntary ban from betting shops.

Councillor Mike O'Brien, from Medway Council, said: "We're working together here in Medway as responsible businesses and a responsible council to ensure that we protect the very vulnerable in society."

The council said the time between spins of the roulette wheel on the FOBT machines was about 20 seconds and it was possible to bet £100 a time, or up to £18,000 an hour.

There are 30 bookmakers in Medway and each bookmaker is allowed to have four FOBT machines in each shop.

Andrew Lyman from William Hill, said: "We see problem gambling being an issue regarding the person and not the product.

"We don't see there is any empirical evidence that fixed odds betting terminals are more harmful than any of the other gambling products."

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