Gamblers lost more than £100 million to slot machines in west London last year, a new report claims.
The staggering loss is revealed in new data which highlights the extent of losses on controversial fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs) in the area.
The figures, put together by Landman Economics, estimates a total of 8.680 jobs were lost in west London in 2016 due to FOBT.
As a result, calls have been made to reduce the maximum stake from £100 to £2 in the machines dubbed ‘the crack cocaine of gambling’ because of its addictive nature .
Earlier in June, the Gambling Commission released its new figures into gambling in the UK and found that a massive £1.82bn was spent on FOBTs last year.
|Borough||Lost on FOBT (2016)||Lost on FOBT (2008-16)||Jobs lost||No of betting shops / FOBTs|
|Hammersmith and Fulham||
|Kensington and Chelsea||£8,441,699||£57,289,915||926||24/123|
The figures reveal the huge loss incurred by users between 2008 and 2016, and illustrate the huge problem in west London.
Topping the table in the area was Brent, where £24,083,670 was lost in 2016 on 350 FOBTs in 97 betting shops.
Kensington and Chelsea users fared best in west London but still lost £8,441,699 last year on 123 FOBTs.
According to the data, spending on FOBTs caused the most job losses in Ealing, with 1,880 lost.
BACTA (British Amusement Catering Trade Association) is the principal trade association for the amusement and gaming machine industry in the UK, and chief executive John White said Parliament must help more.
“These figures underline the damaging impact of high-stakes FOBTs, right across the UK," he said.
"In west London alone, over £100 million is being lost by gamblers annually and all its Parliamentary candidates should recognise the danger these hardcore machines pose."
“The only way to protect consumers is through a substantial reduction to the £100 stake limit ," he said.
"We urge the next Government to pursue this as a matter of priority... to safeguard those most at risk of gambling harm.”
A spokesman for the Campaign for Fairer Gambling added: “These figures reveal the shocking scale of the havoc FOBTs are causing on Britain’s high streets.
“The bizarre experiment to allow high stakes casino gambling in betting shops has failed. Enough is enough.
“It is time for all political parties to commit to reducing the maximum stake on these machines to £2 a spin.”
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