Millions lost on gambling machines in the East

A punter on a fixed odds betting terminal. Credit: PA

Millions of pounds are being lost on controversial gambling machines across the Anglia region, according to the latest figures.

The Campaign for Fairer Gambling has described fixed odds betting terminals as "the crack cocaine of gambling".

They let punters stake up to £100 every 20 seconds on roulette, poker and blackjack games.

In the Anglia region the most money being lost on the gambling machines is in Southend-On-Sea in Essex.

The Campaign for Fairer Gambling has estimated that in Southend around £6.5 million was lost on the gambling machines last year.

In Peterborough around £6 million was lost by punters.

But the Association of British Bookmakers say safeguards are in place. Peter Craske said: "We want all our customers to bet safely and enjoyably but what we're doing for gaming machine players is that you can now, for the first time ever set a limit on the amount of money you spend or the amount of time you play for.

"And what the evidence has shown since January, since we've been doing this, is that on average about 200,000 customers a week are setting a limit and sticking to it."

Estimated loss by gamblers on fixed odds betting terminals:

  • Southend-on-Sea: £6,527,296

  • Peterborough: £5,998,056

  • Norwich: £5,645,229

  • Luton: £5,115,989

  • Ipswich: £4,939,575

  • Bedford: £4,410,335