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Questions for government and industry in gambling changes

  • Video report by ITV News Consumer Editor Chris Choi

As government basks in praise for its changes to gambling machines - let me throw in a more questioning tone.

They now say this is a "social menace", yet they won't be bringing in the changes this year.

Instead, they are allowing the industry more time to come up with new technologies and profit-making ideas.

Remember that every year that passes will see fixed odds betting machines yield £1.8 billion.

What's more, online gambling remains free from this type of regulation and it is likely that gamblers will simply switch to internet casinos where even more can be lost in every spin.

The big betting firms have a firm grip on the cyber market too, so their losses may well be heavily mitigated.

The betting industry is keen that its prediction of heavy job losses get headlines today, and there will be justified sympathy for workers now facing such uncertainty.

However, the industry has known for years that this income stream has been at risk from heavy regulation.

Firms have had plenty of time to plan how to switch resources and staffing towards gambling that has a less harmful social impact.

They will now be given breathing space to find ways to redeploy employees.