Bookies' opening restrictions

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Monday 24 March 2014 5.45pm
The Gambling Act 2005 removed the obligation on councils to demonstrate local 'appetite' when authorising gambling suppliers licence applications, a requirement that allowed gambling companies to effectively set up shop where any leisure-related or financial activity had previously taken place.

The gambling industry avidly seized on this opportunity [provided by New Labour], which led to clusters of gambling outlets developing in working-class areas, further immiserating poor households.

Despite 'geo-mapping' research that demonstrated this development [with a few notable exceptions to the 'poverty rule such as clusters on certain car-commuter routes out of London], which also went some way to explaining why a tiny urban development on the West Coast of Scotland had such a high concentration [to encourage oil-rig workers to lose their salaries at the earliest opportunities], the industry continued to deny that this was the result of a deliberate commercial strategy.

Bearing in mind that fixed-off betting terminals in bookies [known as the 'crack cocaine' of gambling products with good reason] now yielding more profit for the industry within bookies' premise than on-course/sport events, this is a quiet and unsung disaster that local authorities in the main choose to ignore, bar initiatives such as this one in Southwark, who may well be motivated by the relative cost/benefit of not doing so in terms of the erosion of heritage tourism and the income that this represents.
Monday 24 March 2014 8.17pm
I agree totally. This is just another example of where our self-serving political class have sold out on their electorate's interests to big business. I despair that this will change....
Monday 24 March 2014 8.21pm
Hi Brendan

If we accept that it is not in their interests to change, that might increase the space and imagination we can fill it with in order to consider alternatives....
Tuesday 25 March 2014 11.00am
There is another curse visited upon us by New Labour the relaxation of licensing laws, eg who is allowed to sell booze and for how long. A recent licence given to a motor scooter repairer is a prime example.
As I understand betting shops the proliferation has been mainly caused by the fact that the shops can only have four machines on one premise so to get more machines they get more premises.It does show how extremely profitable they are and how many gamblers use them. I frequent betting shops and in my experience it is not the poor who are the main customers of the machines.
Now the genie is out of the bottle I do not know how we can put the two, booze and gambling back in.
Tuesday 25 March 2014 2.12pm
Is the argument here that somehow people are feeble and need to be protected?
Where do you stop with that sort of reasoning, and what makes anyone in particular qualified to tell anyone else what to do?

...if you press it, they will come.
Tuesday 25 March 2014 3.03pm
I would be more concerned about all the fried chicken shops, we are all going to pay for the damage them things do.
Tuesday 25 March 2014 3.29pm
Interesting observation about who uses FOBTs, thanks, Thebunhouse. You are right about the restriction on number of machines per premises, hence much sleight of hand regarding what constitute 'separate premises'. However proliferation is manifested, ie per number of machines or number of premises, it still begs the question of whether or not certain areas are specifically targetted with the offer of gambling products.

I take your point that there is an issue about responsibility and control, Ivanhoe, but perhaps we should remember that other public health programmes, such as those dealing with smoking tobacco products, indicate a clear correlation between accessibility/ease of use and levels of take-up, which is likely to have been directly influenced in turn by the effects of the unregulated market in financial products [ie, mismanagement of the banking industry].

Every individual is of course entitled to drink, smoke, or gamble themselves into [further] poverty, but the overall social impact of totally uncontrolled promotion of related opportunities is unlikely to be positive.

The end beneficiaries are of course the wealthy companies that profit from gambling products, and yet, as good economic liberals to a man [I use the latter term advisedly], the senior management of these companies would also be likely to be among the first to complain about the cost to the public health purse of depression, stress, etc caused by gambling-related indebtedness.
Wednesday 26 March 2014 3.11pm
Have there been any studies on the social impact of these betting shops on "poor" people?
Wednesday 26 March 2014 4.43pm
With all the on-line betting, Im surprised that betting shops are surviving? I haven't physically placed a bet in a shop in a few years now.
Wednesday 26 March 2014 6.07pm
boroughonian wrote:
Have there been any studies on the social impact of these betting shops on "poor" people?

There is an element of preying in the betting industry, isn't there.
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