Stakes on 'crack cocaine' betting machines to be cut in government gambling review

  • Video report by ITV News Correspondent Richard Pallot

The Government is to cut the maximum stake on fixed-odds betting terminals from £100 to between £2 and £50.

Dubbed the 'crack cocaine of gambling', the machines are said to be dangerously addictive.

Under current rules, they allow players to fritter away £300 a minute.

The announcement is part of a package of measures announced in the Government's gambling review.

Culture minister Tracey Crouch said: "It is vital that we strike the right balance between socially-responsible growth and protecting the most vulnerable, including children, from gambling-related harm."

Strengthening the code on responsible gambling advertising and responsible gamblinginitiatives are also being considered.

A 12-week consultation on the new measures will now take place.

Former Army officer Justyn Rees Larcombe lost £750,000 after getting addicted to gambling on the back of a free £5 bet.

He told ITV News it ruined his life, costing him not just money but his family too.

"I used to put my suit on in the morning, get in the car. I'd drive a couple of miles down the road and pretend I'd gone to work," he said.

"And I'd be sitting there on my smartphone just gambling."

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

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

But gambling offers being advertised online can still be temptation for many.

The Government has asked the Gambling Commission for more information about how better tracking and monitoring of play on FOBTs might be used to protect players.

They are also considering if the spin speed on games such as roulette should be looked at.