PUNTERS in Barnsley gambled away more than £6million last year, a report has revealed.

The figures, from the Commission for Fairer Gambling, shows residents in the Barnsley Central ward frittered away the most with £2,223,731 being lost.

Further figures of £1,946,833 and £1,945,230 came from the Barnsley East and Wentworth and Dearne wards respectively, culminating in a total figure of £6,115,794.

Just last month, Labour and Barnsley East MP Michael Dugher voted for tighter controls on high-stakes gambling machines but failed to win the government's support.

Critics have called the machines 'the crack cocaine of gambling', arguing they lead to crime and addiction.

Dan Jarvis, MP for Barnsley Central, said: "Problem gambling can lead to homelessness, a dependency on loan sharks or pay day loans, and even families being separated and children taken into care.

"We want the government to ensure laws are brought in to tackle serious issues such as the problem of unlicensed operators operating in the UK and pre-watershed advertising of gambling products.

"Giving the Gambling Commission appropriate powers to monitor and control problem gambling would help the situation."