A Canterbury gambling addiction councillor has said that comparing fixed odd betting terminals to crack cocaine is an ‘underestimation’
David Goodlad who runs a counselling service from Lombard House, Canterbury also thinks the changes the government have proposed are ‘long overdue’.
In 2016 Kent gamblers lost £35 million using the machines.
There are currently 645 machines in Kent and Medway.
The BBC reported that the government are set to unveil a shake up of fixed odds terminals after critics have called them the ‘crack cocaine’ of the betting world.
However, David believes that the addiction is far worse.
He said: “Referring it to crack cocaine is an underestimation.
“These changes are long overdue.
“Betting shops are popping up more than charity shops in high-streets, but they take and they do not give back.”
David also thinks the problem is not just betting terminals.
He said: “Gambling is taking over sport and football. “I can’t even listen to Talksport due to the adverts.
“You have that one line at the bottom of ‘bet responsibly’ or ‘when the fun stops stop’, but what does that actually mean?
“You would not say that with heroine for example.
“Gambling it a dedicated physiology addiction. “It effects powerful elements of the brain and to the eyes
“A problem is also with children it is open to them more. “My son plays Subway Surfer it looks like harmless fun or is it?”
The government have proposed a ban on day time TV and social media advertising for betting.
In regard to help David said.
“It’s about planning.
“Online, mobile phones and fixed odds are the problems.”
“The government need to sort this out.”
Darren Gibbs from Sittingbourne who has suffered with addiction said: “The main problem is not just the betting terminals it is the the adverts they are the real problem.
Azim Nori from Dartford who is an amateur gambler said: “I have fun gambling and know when the stop. “The terminals are bad, but people just need the right help to stop addictions.”
Adam Dark used to be a croupier at Kent Casino.
He said: ” I saw the same people come into the casino night after night spending their money and getting nothing of value.
“Day after day night after night they would come in at all hours and give up their money to watch a white ball spin round and drop into a number. “They would give their money for nothing very occasionally leaving with a win but sure to come in the next day and give it back. “They usually came in with all the money they could lose and stayed until they lost it.
“I took all their money and got paid minimum wage to do it. “Gambling was not great and I can not see any great value to it.”