Betting machines 'could lead to gambling addiction'

People may develop gambling addictions more through using betting machines than placing other types of wagers.

This is according to Professor Gerda Reith of Glasgow University, who conducted a study looking into touchscreen Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs), which are attracting a different type of person.

In research findings funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, she explained that betting shops have changed beyond all recognition during the last 50 years.

"Some types of gambling are more risky than others and FOBTs seem to be one of the products most associated with harm at present," Professor Reith said.

She added that this is because losses can mount quickly due to the speed at which bets can be placed and therefore money is lost.

The professor is an expert on gambling addiction and has published titles on the subject such as The Age of Chance: Gambling in Western Culture and Gambling: Who Wins? Who Loses?, while latest title Consumption: Regulation and Excess will be released this year. 

Iain Brown, Chartered Psychologist, said: "We know that the faster the gambling game can go the more easily accessible it is for long periods at a time and the more frequently the bets can be placed, the more addictive is any form of gambling."