YEP Says, February 15: Give council powers to tackle the ‘crack cocaine’ of gambling

Gamblers can lose �300 a minute on fixed-odds betting terminals
Gamblers can lose �300 a minute on fixed-odds betting terminals
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Players can lose £300 a minute on fixed-odds machines.

NO one likes to be a killjoy – but the latest figures on the city’s gambling habits are a worrying sign that what for some people is a bit of fun is for others a desperate addiction.

Over £16m was gambled in Leeds last year on controversial betting machines dubbed the “crack cocaine” of gambling.

Players can lose as much as £300 in just a minute on fixed-odds terminals which cause untold damage as household budgets are gambled away.

It’s why Ed Miliband is right to pledge that his party would allow councils to clamp down on them.

But Labour must also shoulder some of the blame.

Gambling laws were relaxed by Tony Blair’s government in 2005. Since then the number of fixed-odds terminals has risen to 33,000.

And it’s not just this problem that needs tackling.

There’s something deeply wrong in a country where every time you turn on TV you’re bombarded by ads for bingo, betting and payday loans.

Personal responsibility comes into it, but when the lure of supposedly easy money keeps being put in the path of those struggling to makes ends meet it’s destined to end in tears.

The Government must act now to give councils greater discretion – if only to avoid betting shops being concentrated in areas where hard-up people may be more liable to succumb to the temptations of gambling.

Rhinos are winners – on and off the pitch

LEEDS Rhinos kick off their latest Super League campaign with a tough opener at Hull KR tomorrow.

After being beaten in the play-off semi-finals last season, Brian McDermott’s side are determined to win back the trophy. With chief executive Gary Hetherington insisting it’s their best squad yet, hopes of them pulling it off are high.

The city should be proud of the Rhinos – and not just for their five Grand Final wins in seven years.

A family club with a number of long-serving players, they are deeply embedded in the local community and great ambassadors for the city.

That already makes them winners in our book.

Kim Leadbeater, sister of Jo Cox, speaks about her efforts to keep her sister's values alive and raise money for charity. '2nd March 2016.'Picture Jonathan Gawthorpe

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