Town centre gamblers can lose up to £300 a minute on addictive roulette machines in bookmakers.
Spalding has three bookies yards apart in Hall Place with machines known as fixed odds betting terminals where people play roulette and other games – and there’s a bookmakers round the corner in Sheep Market.
The Campaign for Fairer Gambling revealed punters in the Midlands poured £5billion into the machines in the year to September 2012 and its founder, Derek Webb, says people can easily lose up to £300 a minute on the “highly addictive” machines.
We spoke to people shopping in Spalding on market day and heard about a man with a £50 a night gambling habit and a story of a divorce brought about by an addiction to gambling.
Scott Lomax (22), from Spalding, said a pal was spending £50 a night on the machines, but managed to quit after a month or two.
He said: “There’s too many of them. You don’t need all these. The only way to beat these places is to walk away.”
Former Spalding resident Jacki Williamson believes the industry targets people who haven’t got money to spare and it needs regulating because it’s just too tempting.
“For the size of the town, there’s an awful lot of gambling establishments,” said Kevin Wild, from Spalding.
Kevin never gambles, but says people could easily lose a small fortune.
Retired Spalding postman Steve Read won’t gamble and says: “You will never beat the bookmaker, will you?”
Mum of three Matilda Smith, from Gosberton Risegate, knows of a marriage break-up sparked by the husband’s gambling addiction and says Spalding has too many bookies with the gaming machines.
Diane Sharman, from Spalding, plays the Irish Lottery at the bookies but nothing more and says it’s about “self control”.