New Holyrood betting machine powers to be examined

MSPs are to consider the impact of giving Holyrood new powers over fixed odds betting terminals.

Gaming machines have often courted controversy. Picture: Allan Milligan

The electronic devices, featuring games such as roulette, can pay out up to £500 to winners.

While betting and gaming is currently reserved to Westminster, the new Scotland Bill proposes giving Holyrood ministers the power to vary the number of such machines betting shops are allowed to have.

Sign up to our Politics newsletter

Sign up to our Politics newsletter

Members of the Scottish Parliament’s Local Government and Regeneration Committee is to look at what advantages and disadvantages this could have.

Committee convener Kevin Stewart said: “Fixed odds betting terminals have become a familiar site in betting shops across the country. But these are not without controversy. Tales of addiction and loss are not hard to find.

“The Scotland Bill proposes devolving power over these machines to the Scottish Government and our committee will be examining what this will mean in practice and what impact this is likely to have for communities where these machines are prevalent.

“The Scottish Government has already said the proposed Scotland Bill powers don’t go far enough and we will look at what alternative proposals would mean for Scotland’s high streets.”