Opinion: Odds are stacked

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It is so cynical that it leaves you fuming.

Fixed rate betting terminals - those highly addictive machines where you bet £100 in 20 seconds - are everywhere.

Or rather, it seems that they are everywhere. Actually, they are only everywhere in the poorest parts of the city. Dore isn’t overrun by bookies’ shops, Darnall, council stats show, is.

No doubt the pattern is the same across South Yorkshire.

Communities where cash is tight and prospects few for generations without work are vulnerable to the lure of the bookies, always have been. But the advent of the fixed odds terminal takes betting to a whole new level.

If your luck’s in , great. If not, it takes seconds to lose your shirt , and much else besides. And so the spiral begins.

The concern, of course, is the highly addictive nature of this kind of betting; it doesn’t take long to find yourself hooked.

The city council is right to call on the Government for more power to regulate the growth and spread of these machines.

Gambling, like any addiction, leads to the kind of health and social problems that wreck lives , families and communities.

Tougher regulation is needed to protect our vulnerable communities. The winners are the bookies.