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  1. ITV Report

Former gambler speaks out over betting machines after losing £200,000

Simon lost almost £200,000 on betting machines. Photo: ITV News Anglia

Campaigners are calling for tougher safeguards after new figures revealed that tens of millions of pounds are being spent by gamblers on one of the betting industry's most controversial gaming machines.

The Campaign for Fairer Gambling says fixed odds betting terminals are leading people into a life of addiction.

Simon, who's originally from Cambridge, lost almost £200,000 on betting machines. He went from being a successful IT consultant to fighting a serious addiction in rehab.

Gambling cost him his house, his car, his career.

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Eventually I used up everything, I liquidised my pension, endowment policies, everything, so yep I ended up homeless, I ended up without a job and without a partner.

– Simon
Fixed odds betting machines. Credit: ITV News Anglia

Simon said: "It lasted for 10 years and it just took over my whole life really, I wasn't present for 10 years, all I thought about was gambling.

"Eventually I used up everything, I liquidised my pension, endowment policies, everything, so yep I ended up homeless, I ended up without a job and without a partner."

Simon's problem was fixed-odd betting terminals. They offer high stake games such as roulette, and users can gamble £100 a spin every 20 seconds. In an hour gamblers can lose as much as £18,000.

Now a campaign's underway to limit these machines and reduce the maximum bet on any one spin to £2.

Click below for Tanya Mercer's report.

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