WEST Dunbartonshire’s MP has said the welfare of Bankies must take “priority over the profits of bookmakers”.

Martin Docherty-Hughes said billions of pounds in profits from major bookies far outweighed the resources local authorities have to address harm from gambling.

In 2018, the UK Government was forced into action over fixed odds betting terminals (FOBTs), and as a result, the maximum stake for them was reduced from £100 to £2, from Monday, April 1.

SNP MPs at Westminster are now leading calls for a joined-up strategy across UK Government departments to address the harm to communities being caused by problem gambling.

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Ministers are being asked to consider a statutory levy of one per cent on bookmakers to help tackle gambling related problems.

Mr Docherty-Hughes said: “The steps taken to reduce the maximum stakes allowed on FOBTs are to be welcomed, but it’s clear the UK Government must do more to tackle gambling related addiction.

“Whilst the majority of people gamble responsibly, there is an alarming increase in the number of people becoming addicted to betting which is causing significant harm in our communities.

“Gambling addiction is destroying lives and ruining families not just in West Dunbartonshire but in communities across the country.

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“The amount of money spent by bookmakers promoting gambling far outweighs the resources and means available to local authorities to counteract that.

“The Scottish Government is taking action to address the proliferation of betting shops in deprived areas, but whilst gambling laws remain reserved to Westminster we must continue to press the UK Government to do more.

“Welfare of individuals and their families must take priority over the profits of bookmakers.”