Government-owned bookies The Tote says it is taking more than 5 per cent MORE from punters — most of it coming from controversial touch-screen roulette machines.

But Tote bosses refused to reveal just how much it made from the £500 jackpot machines — which have been linked to problem gambling — ahead of the expected sell-off of its 540 betting shops to the private sector.

A spokesman said: “With the current climate we are in it’s something we don’t have to do, and we’ve decided not to.”

Status

In a report presented yesterday to British MPs, The Tote did say gross profit had increased 3.1 per cent to £164 million, although admitted less of it was coming from horse-racing bets and more from machines.

Government ownership of the machines is particularly sensitive as ministers recently ordered the Gambling Commission to probe the effects of high-stakes slots.

A commission survey last year found ONE IN NINE people playing on betting shop roulette machines was a problem gambler.

Potential bidders for a privatised Tote say they cannot put a value on the business before the machines get the green light.






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