THE Prime Minister has pledged to look at using money lying in dormant betting accounts to help people addicted to gambling after being quizzed on the matter by Inverclyde’s MP.

The SNP’s Ronnie Cowan asked PM David Cameron about the issue in the House of Commons and received a pledge from the Tory leader promising to look into the idea.

Figures from the Campaign for Fairer Gambling group suggest there are more than 650 people in Inverclyde hooked on highly-addictive fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs), contributing to a staggering £60m being ‘wagered’ on them in just one year.

Mr Cowan believes money from dormant betting accounts should be used to help them and others whose lives have been blighted by gambling.

During the pair’s Commons exchange, Mr Cameron said “We did take some action in the last parliament to deal with problem gambling in terms of the planning system and in terms of the way, particularly fixed-odds betting terminals, worked.

“I’m very happy to keep examining this issue and to act on the evidence and I’ll be discussing it with the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport.”

Mr Cowan’s question in the House of Commons came after he wrote to chancellor George Osborne about the matter.

He received a reply from Damian Hinds MP, exchequer secretary to the treasury, saying officials are ‘examining’ his suggestion.

Mr Cowan said: “It’s time for action on problem gambling – an issue that blights too many communities and households across Scotland.

“I am pleased to learn from HM Treasury that they will consider my ideas of using dormant accounts to help good causes and those hit by the problem of gambling.

“A report six years ago recommended that the UK Government consult with high street betting operators on how money from dormant betting accounts could be utilised for good causes.

“Yet, in 2016 we are still no further forward as the UK Government has failed to take action on this important issue.

“Rather than bolstering profit margins this unclaimed money could instead be put to good use and help make a positive difference to people’s lives.”