"Addictive" betting machines cost Epping Forest residents £2.6m

Betting shops are allowed up to four machines

Betting shops are allowed up to four machines

First published in News
Last updated
East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter - Epping Forest

A man who has lost more than £20,000 on "addictive" gambling machines in just two years says they should be banned.

New measures allowing punters to set their own limits on the betting shop machines were introduced on Friday.

But a 65-year-old gambler Guardian spoke to this week, who only wished to be identified as Andy, said the measures did not go far enough.

Andy, playing one of the machines in Ladbrokes in Epping High Street, said: "“I’ve lost over £20,000 in the past two years on the machines.

“These machines are the worst thing betting shops ever did.”

Andy funds his gambling from his job and inheritance he was given following the death of his brother.

He said: “They are definitely addictive. It’s so easy to get carried away and chase your money.
“I definitely wish I had spent the money from my brother on something different.”

Figures show fixed odds betting terminals accounted for £2.6m losses in Epping Forest last year.

The machines have been dubbed the ‘crack cocaine’ of betting, because of their addictive nature, and are installed in most betting shops across the UK.

The terminals in Epping Forest had £13.9m put into them last year.

The new legislation makes it mandatory for the machine to alert the player when they have been playing for 30 minutes or when they have spent £250 pounds.

After a short time the player can then continue playing.

Several gamblers said they found the machines addictive and have tried to cut down the amount they put into the terminals.

But Andy, who cares for his 90-year-old mother, added: "It warns you but it doesn't stop you. I would like to see them get rid of the machines altogether."

Staff at one betting shop in Epping said they had seen several people exclude themselves from the shop to prevent them spending any more money.

Ladbrokes have been contacted for a comment

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