A man, whose crazed attack in a betting shop was sparked by an addictive gambling machine, has been given a lifetime restriction order.
Now an MP has said that the spread of ‘fixed odds betting terminals’ in betting shops is “destroying people’s lives”.
Meanwhile, a local council has challenged the law in court, claiming that betting shops are becoming dominated by the machines.
Mark Rutter was given a life-long restriction order for the attack, which included stabbing a member of staff with a pair of scissors, smashing a security screen and toppling one of the gambling machines.
According to the prosecuting lawyer, Mr Rutter shouted: “I want my money back. Give me my £200 back”.
The defending QC said the fixed odds betting terminal was the “catalyst” for the attack.
Mr Rutter pleaded guilty, and must serve at least two years and eight months before he can ask to be released.
Last week Stephen Timms, a former Treasury Minister, warned about the spread of betting shops, and said violence inside can spill out on to the street.
He said: “The proliferation of these shops and these very addictive terminals within them is destroying people’s lives. We are seeing families broken up and houses repossessed.
“What happens is that people who lose money in these shops become very angry.”
He said he had been told one betting chain “has had to upgrade the robustness of the machines because people so often try to bash them up”.
“And that is what often spills out on to the high street”, he continued.
Mr Timms added: “Betting shops attract anti-social behaviour, including street drinking”, which he described as “intimidating”.
The MP was speaking in court as Newham Council opposed the opening of a Paddy Power betting shop.
The Council has rejected a licence for the shop because it says the main profits will come from fixed odds betting terminals.
It had hired a private detective to look into their usage, but District Judge Paul Goldspring declined to hear the evidence.
On Monday the judge rejected the Council’s case.