Byline: Nigel Nelson POLITICAL EDITOR
THERE'S something magical about proper roulette - choosing your favourite numbers, placing your chips on the green baize.
Then an expectant hush followed by the croupier's spin and the whiz and clatter of the ball as it settles.
But I found there was no magic in playing the game on a controversial casino-style machine at a bookies - especially as I blew PS500 in just 48 minutes.
The Sunday People is campaigning for tough regulations to control fixed odds betting terminals, on which punters can lose up to PS100 in 20 seconds. So I decided to try one for myself.
I went to a bookies near my House of Commons office, where MPs go for a flutter on the horses.
In 2006 there were 16,000 of these gaming machines in the UK. But the number more than doubled to 33,000 after rules were relaxed to allow up to four in each betting shop.
At the shop they were all in use. When one became free I bet by feeding cash into the stake slot.
And after a few spins it became clear why these machines are called the crack cocaine of gambling. I can't say I enjoyed the experience and not just because I lost.
It was not exciting like the real thing. Boring, if anything.
Part of me wished I was doing something else. But another part was engrossed. I kept winning. But never quite enough. And all the time my cash was trickling away through losses.
So I kept chasing the losses with new bets. I rarely bet and I'm no compulsive gambler but I soon saw I was CASIN beginning to behave like one.
CHINES I started with moderate stakes, betting on odd or even numbers, red or black. I won moderate amounts, so I upped the stakes. A PS50 bet returned PS20 but another PS50 produced nothing. The next spin returned PS70. I bet PS40 in PS10 stakes on black odd numbers, a block of 12 numbers and on the square which covers all numbers between 19 and 36.
THE I got my PS40 back so I repeated the formula and got another PS40. Then I tried a third time...and nothing.
So I went for the big money. I bet PS100 in PS10 chips on the line of numbers down the middle of the table. Landing on any of them would have paid PSth of o 3 PS360 Next PS360 - but I lost the lot. …