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Thousands 'can be bet hourly' on high stakes slots

Tighter rules on betting machines are expected to be announced today as part of a government review of gambling policy, with measures set to allow councils to refuse a planning application if they are worried about the number of shops.

A poll by the Sunday People earlier this month found that thousands can be spent hourly on the machines.

Slot machines in Casino Hotel Credit: Slavko Midzor/PIXSELL

Some 63% said that fruit machines encourage problem gambling and 56% want the maximum stake limit cut from £100 to £20, it added.

More: Gambling overhaul 'to target betting machines'

People can bet £300 a minute, £18,000 a hour, on the high speed machines and they are mainly clustered in the most deprived parts of the country.

The Association of British Bookmakers said in a DCMS review last year, slot machines "add to the vitality and vibrancy of the high street" and drive footfall to other businesses.

New powers expected to curb spread of betting shops

The overhaul of rules on gambling may include a change to planning regulations to let councils stop new betting shops open.

The Government is expected to give councils new powers to stop betting shops opening in their area. Credit: Phil Cole/PA Archive/Press Association Images

Under current rules bookmakers do not always need planning permission to open a new outlet.

Gambling overhaul 'to target betting machines'

Tighter rules on betting machines are expected to be announced today as part of a government review of gambling policy.

Companies may be forced to give customers using machines more time to consider how much they are gambling on fixed-odds machines that allow stakes of hundreds of pounds in quick succession.

Ministers are expected to bring in tighter rules on betting machines. Credit: Daniel Hambury/PA Archive/Press Association Images

Councils may also be given more powers to stop betting shops opening if they are concerned about the spread of gambling venues in their area.

The measures are expected to be part of a series of proposals from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport to tackle what some say are "ineffective" rules on gambling.

Read: Culture Secretary backs safeguards to curb gambling

Mecca owner's shares surge 8.6% after bingo duty cut

Shares in Mecca owner Rank surged 8.6% following the Chancellor's duty cut announcement, which it called "an important boost" for Britain's bingo clubs.

Rank, which operates 97 Mecca Bingo clubs, said that as a result of the duty change it would be able to invest in the development of three new clubs and safeguard the future of a number of existing clubs.

General view of a Mecca Bingo hall in Wandsworth, south west London.
Rank, which operates 97 Mecca Bingo clubs said the announcement was 'an important boost' Credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

Chief executive Ian Burke said, "By bringing bingo duty into line with other forms of gaming entertainment, the Government has created a basis for renewed investment and innovation."

George Osborne's Budget confirmed the duty on bingo will be reduced to 10%

Osborne's Budget for 'makers, doers and savers': Latest updates

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Paddy Power withdraws controversial Pistorius ad

Paddy Power's controversial Oscar Pistorius advert is to be withdrawn with immediate effect, after the Advertising Standards Authority received an "unprecedented number of complaints."

The ad, which offers "money back if he walks" or is found not guilty of killing girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp featured a photograph of Paralympic gold medallist Pistorius, mocked up as an Academy Award statuette.

A spokesman for the advertising watchdog said: "We consider the ad may be seriously prejudicial to the general public on the ground of the likely further serious and/or widespread offence it may cause.

"We are also concerned that the good reputation of the advertising industry may be further damaged by continued publication of this ad."

Paddy Power's Oscar Pistorius advert to be investigated

Paddy Power's Oscar Pistorius ad on their blog.
Paddy Power's Oscar Pistorius ad on their blog. Credit: Paddy Power.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has launched an investigation into an ad by bookmaker Paddy Power guaranteeing to refund losing bets if South African athlete Oscar Pistorius is acquitted of murder.

46 complaints were made to the ASA about the promotion, which appeared in newspapers and on social media.

A petition on Change.org has also been signed by more than 115,000 people.

A spokesperson for Paddy Power said: "Despite the ASA announcing their investigation, we stand by our decision to run this betting market and publicise it to punters."

Culture Secretary backs safeguards to curb gambling

New safeguards are to be introduced in an attempt to curb addiction to high-stakes gambling machines in betting shops, according to The Sunday Times (£).

Bookies will no longer be able to advertise the machines in their windows and alerts will flash up if gamblers play for more than half an hour or deposit more than £250.

A branch of William Hill betting shop in central London. Credit: John Stillwell/PA Wire.

The changes are being supported by Maria Miller, the culture secretary, to curb the huge amount of money being lost on the machines.

Writing in the newspaper, Ms Miller said: "We want a successful gambling industry but not at the price of public protection. Player protections must be made mandatory so that every bookmaker must abide by the new rules.

"I have asked the Gambling Commission to make this happen. In the future, these rules will therefore form part of the operators' licence conditions and bookmakers will have to accept them or not be able to trade."

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