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Council launches bid to ban one-armed bandits from city

A MAJOR drive to ban all slot machines in Dublin has been launched by the City Council.

The Council does not want slot machines to be permitted in its jurisdiction, it has told the Department of Justice. In a submission on Minister Dermot Ahern's review of the gambling industry, the council said the so-called 'one-armed bandits' should be prohibited.

"This type of gambling, while appearing innocuous, is in fact very addictive; these machines should not be allowed to expand into bookmaker shops," it said.

The department has said the objective of the review is to "provide the Government with options for a new and comprehensive" legal framework governing gambling.

In its letter, the council argued "gambling is very addictive and, like all addictions, can have appalling consequences for addicts and their families".

The submission, which was formulated by a cross-party subgroup of the council, is to be made available at the Dublin City Joint Policing Committee.

Committee chair Gerry Breen (FG) said fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs) found in UK bookmakers are a bad idea.

Mr Breen said the machines, which allow players to bet on the outcome of various games and events with fixed odds, are "highly addictive".

Bookmakers want the Government to allow casino gaming FOBTs to their shops. British rules allow two per shop.

However, the new laws are likely to include a provision banning bookmakers from doing that.

Bookie William Hill's 8,772 machines gained close to £6m from British punters in 2009.

It said last month it will wait for the Government proposals before deciding the future of its 36 shops in the Republic.