A dad who lost about £1 million and is estranged from his son after a 30-year gambling addiction is warning others about the dangers of fixed odds betting terminals.
Tony Franklin, who lives in Aylesbury, says that years of highs and lows playing fruit machines, and later high-stakes machines in betting shops have taken a toll on his health, destroyed his marriage and left him in thousands of pounds worth of debt.
And since we first reported on his story last year, Tony has started a petition to get the Government to ban these high-stakes machines, which has gained over 100.000 signatures.
He said: “Our high streets are being taken over by betting companies whose business model is to create and exploit gambling addictions.
“This isn’t about placing the odd bet on a football match or horse race. Bookies use their electronic gambling machines to filter out that casual crowd: they’re looking for people with the potential for a serious gambling addiction.
“Fixed-odds betting terminals feed a dependency just as powerful as drugs or alcohol. Their high-speed games, with stakes as high as £100 every twenty seconds, mean you can easily lose a month’s wages in under an hour.
“Eventually you realise you’re not doing it for the money – you’re doing it because you’re physically addicted to the rush. Franklin’s gambling addiction began at 13, when he would steal from his parents to play fruit machines.
“I’ve lost numerous jobs because of electronic gambling. I’ve lost two properties through failure to keep up with mortgage payments, I’ve amassed £100,000s in debt, I’m separated from my wife and child, and I’m trapped in a situation where I can’t rent accommodation because my credit score is so low and I haven’t enough money for a deposit.
“Now I’ve got special blocks on my computer that stop me straying onto a betting site – I even had to disable them to set up this petition.
“We can do something to change the tide of misery and reclaim our high streets. We can sign this petition.”
To sign Tony’s petition go to https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/ban-gambling-addiction-machines-from-our-high-streets