Call to put a bet on local authorities

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The southside’s gambling problem needs to be solved before it’s too late, according to East Renfrewshire’s local MP.

Jim Murphy has called on Holyrood to give more power to councils to scrutinize planning application for betting shops, after it emerged local gamblers lost more than £2 million last year.

This follows news that local authorities in England and Wales have been given more control over applications for betting shops.

Recent figures from the Campaign for Fairer Gambling show East Renfrewshire has 56 fixed odds betting terminals.

These machines are automated systems that allow users to take part in a number of electronic, fixed odds games like Roulette or Blackjack.

They are estimated to have lost gamblers £2,199,132 — nearly £40,000 per machine.

More than £11 million has been inserted into these machines in East Renfrewshire alone in the past year.

Jim Murphy told The Extra: “Gambling can be a bit of fun if properly regulated but, clearly, these fixed odds machines are costing local communities dearly.

“They are too easy to get involved in and place people at risk of losing a lot of money.”

Ken Macintosh has called on Holyrood to shift the power to councils.

He said: “The Scottish government could also do a lot more.

“Local Authorities must be given more power to prevent clusters of betting outlets forming in local areas — usually the most deprived.

“For these machines to be costing over £2 million to users in East Renfrewshire alone is astonishing.”