GOVERNMENT plans to give councils power to limit the number of betting shops in town centres do not go far enough, a councillor has warned.
Cllr Kate Lewis received unanimous backing to her anti-gambling motion at the latest full council meeting, which called on the government to do more to stop the proliferation of fixed odds betting terminals (FOBTs) in towns like Bolton.
This week the Department for Culture, Media and Sport announced that councils would be able to refuse a planning application for a betting shop if they are concerned too many are opening in an area — one of the demands of Cllr Lewis’ motion.
But the Breightmet councillor, who is one of the leading members on anti-poverty issues within Bolton Council, said the government still needed to take action on FOBTs.
The machines offer gamblers the chance to bet £100 a spin on casino-style, addictive games, meaning they can lose thousands in minutes.
Cllr Lewis said: “Any move to give more power to local authorities over their high street is a step in the right direction.
“Unfortunately this only addresses one of the demands of the motion passed by Bolton Council.
“Unless the government tackles the specific issue of fixed-odds betting terminals, this change alone will make little or no difference to the lives of people hooked on these machines.
“It is about time the coalition government took meaningful action to prevent the misery these terminals can cause.”
As part of Cllr Lewis’ motion the council is also committed to writing to the government to demand further action on FOBTs, and explore other options to reduce the problems caused by the machines.