High-stakes gambling machines survive Commons vote – for now
Fixed odds betting terminals survived a Commons vote last night, but the gambling industry was effectively put on notice that more regulation is almost certainly on the way.
A Labour motion calling for local councils to be given powers to limit the number of high-stakes fruit machines was defeated by 314 to 232, a majority of 82.
But even with a fairly decisive win, it was clear further action was likely to be taken on the machines, with the government making sympathetic noises about a clamp-down.
Earlier in the day David Cameron told Ed Miliband that he "absolutely shares the concerns" about the machines, which allow people to bet £100 every 20 seconds.
But the prime minister said the government would wait for an industry-funded report providing evidence on usage before taking further action.
The Labour motion would have allowed local councils to further limit the number of the machines in betting shops. At present only four are permitted per shop.
There was a sense that action against the machines was on the way as coalition MPs expressed support for Labour's position and even those backing the government warned they may leave it too late to take action.
"It's hard to disagree with Labour's motion today to empower local authorities to decide re betting machines/bookies. Localism, surely?" Tory MP Zac Goldsmith said.
Earlier in the day Cameron suggested there were more of the machines under Labour than the coalition, but this was questioned by Labour MP Tom Watson who wrote that the machines had numbered 32,832 in 2010/11 and 33,209 by March 2013.