Gambling addict who spent more than £1 million on habit calls for tougher Government regulation

A man plays on a slot machine in a casino Credit: PA
  • Video report by ITV News Correspondent Richard Pallot

More regulation of the gambling industry is needed, a gambling addict who lost his son, his wife and his home due to his thousands of pounds per week habit, has told ITV News.

Tony Franklin's warning comes ahead of the Government's long-awaited review into the controversial industry.

The review - which will be published next week - is expected to pay particular attention to fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs) which have been described in the past as "as additive as crack cocaine".

In the last year, £13.8 billion was spent in the UK by gamblers, of which an estimated £2 billion was spent on FOBTs.

Mr Franklin, who estimates that he has spent between £1 million and £2 million, mainly on FOBTs, says that more needs to be done.

"I've been seeking out help to try to stop," the former salesman explained, adding: "I've implemented all the tools and measures I can take".

He continued that despite asking the gambling industry to exclude him from bookmakers', "it's still possible for me to go in there".

Currently those who believe they have a gambling problem can apply to have themselves self-excluded from the 9,000 bookmakers across Britain.

Yet this is not enough, Mr Franklin stressed.

He added that in his view, a large part of the issue was FOBTs which are "shafting the majority" as they have a "level for everybody".

"You can be a millionaire, a billionaire... but it is going to break you," he insisted.

The United Kingdom is the only developed country in the world which allows up to £100 to be placed per spin in a shop on the high street.

Even if the Government review suggests a toughening of regulations, it will still require a change in the law, and until this happens, the temptation for the 500,000 problem gamblers in the UK will remain, he believes.