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Action needed over fixed odds betting terminals

There will be considerable puzzlement that the overdue restrictions on the use of fixed-odds betting terminals in bookmakers introduced by the British government have not been extended to Northern Ireland.

Well documented evidence about the dreadful consequences of problem gambling means it cannot be appropriate that the maximum stake remains at £100 here when it is shortly to be cut to just £2 across the water.

The contradiction has been linked to the suspension of our devolved structures but there will be an expectation that either senior civil servants or the secretary of state will find a way to intervene.

A cross-party motion on the issue due to be debated by Belfast City Council tonight gives the opportunity for an early and decisive response by the authorities.

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