The betting industry regulator has backed an investigation into the eﬀects of gambling on young and vulnerable people in Wakefield.
The Gambling Commission said it “wholeheartedly” supported the city council’s decision to set up a task force to look at the issue, and claimed that the harm excessive beting can cause is a “public health concern.”
It comes as figures show the number of bookmakers in the Wakefield district has risen steadily during the past decade.
There are now 51 high street bookmakers operating across the district, compared to the 41 that were running in July 2008.
Betfred, Coral, Ladbrokes, Megabet, Paddy Power and William Hill have all been granted permission to open stores during the past decade, while adult gaming centres and new bingo halls have also opened.
The government plans to slash the maximum stake on fixed odds machines in betting shops from £100 to £2.
But a recovering gambling addict who lives in Wakefeld, but asked not to be named, said that more help was needed for those who have a problem.
He said: “Fixed odds machines are the crack cocaine of gambling but I don’t think limiting the stake is going to help because people will just find something else to bet on.
“It doesn’t matter whether you’re betting £2 or £50, it’s about the buzz you get.
“As an addict you’re never fixed. I’ve not had a bet in many years but I could be just one day away from placing one again.
“The eﬀect on my health has been massive.”
The council’s probe into the issue will begin afer the summer recess.
The Association of British Bookmakers (ABB) said: “As a result of the government’s decision to reduce stakes on gaming machines to £2, thousands of jobs will be lost and there will be a signifcant reduction in betting shop numbers across the UK. Those shops that survive will continue to provide a safe place to gamble.”