LAST week, at the Scottish Parliament, I lodged a motion in relation to Fixed Odds Betting Terminals in Scotland.  The motion received cross-party support from the opposition parties within hours, although as I write this column the motion has not been supported by some MSPs in the West of Scotland.

As Tele readers will be aware, from the many bookmakers on our high streets, the issue of fixed odds betting terminals is evident throughout Inverclyde.  It’s one that causes much grief and anguish for those who become consumed by them and also has a detrimental effect on families and loved ones.

With the Cheltenham racing festival occurring this week, and estimates of £250m being gambled on the racing, it will bring many more individuals into high street bookmakers, many of whom will use fixed odds betting terminals.  Some have described fixed odds betting terminals as the ‘crack cocaine of gambling’ due to the speed at which large sums of money can be lost and because of their highly-addictive qualities.  The amount being gambled on fixed odds betting terminals in Inverclyde and across Scotland is deeply worrying. During economic downturns it is proven that more people turn to gambling to try and get themselves out of their own personal financial problems.

Therefore, I believe it’s vital that we have the public and political debate and find ways to combat the ever increasing number of bookmakers appearing on our high streets and with that the increase in fixed betting odds terminals.