There is a growing concern over problem gamblers in Merseyside as their number continues to grow and more of them are using terminals for fixed-odd betting. Going by the numbers, it is estimated that over a billion pounds were spent or rather gambled on the fixed-odds machines.
The real issue
The statistics compiled by a campaign group indicate that of all the losses on these betting machines, some 40 percent losses were incurred by problem gamblers. Problem gamblers are those who are addicted to various forms of gambling, and for them it is more of an addiction than a means for recreation. In Merseyside, there are around 300 betting retail shops and the number of fixed-odd machines are said to be over a thousand. These shops are not regulated, so there is no way for authorities to tackle the issue of problem gambling in the region. But till the legislation is changed and more power is given to authorities to handle retail betting establishments, there is no way to really help problem gamblers in Merseyside.
Several MPs are working to handle this problem in Merseyside and steps are taken to regulate the retail shops with fixed-odds machines. Louise Ellman is an MP from Liverpool Riverside that comes under Merseyside. She has rallied behind the problem and really calling for a change in regulations.
The steps in the right direction
If the government supports the MPs who are showing concern over the losses by problem gamblers then there are better chances of curbing the problem. The licensing rules need to be made more stringent and local authorities need to be given more power to handle the licensing for small retail shops with fixed-odds machine, which are popular places for problem gamblers and these are the venues they end up losing most of their betting money.