Councillor Paul Rooney was recently invited to provide evidence to the Local Government and Regeneration Committee of the Scottish Parliament on the impact of bookmakers in Glasgow. This followed on from his Report to Glasgow City Council last year on Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs).
Councillor Rooney said he was pleased to have had the opportunity to address the Scottish Parliament on his concerns over FOBTs, dubbed the 'crack cocaine' of gambling.
In his evidence he reiterated the findings of his Report, including:
• Gamblers in Glasgow are betting more than £200 million on FOBTs every year - half a million pounds being gambled every day;
• 800 of these "mini casinos" machines in the 200 betting shops located in communities across the City;
• Typical spin in Glasgow is for £12.86 every 35 seconds;
• Losses to Glaswegians totalling £31 million each year - more than for horse racing, dog racing and football betting combined.
Councillor Rooney used the Evidence Session to continue his call for gambling to be treated as a public health issue; for local councils to be given the powers to block the opening of new bookmakers; and for a Commission to be established to understand fully the cause and effect of this type of gambling to minimise harm.