Bill to block bookies is introduced

09/11/2011

The number of bookmakers’ shops in British high streets could be cut – and with them the thousands of fixed-odds betting terminals that are responsible for so much of their profits.

The Local Government Association, an organisation of local councils, is urging the government to introduce powers which will enable councils to cut the numbers of bookies’ shops.

There are planning reasons why it is difficult for local authorities to refuse permission for bookmakers’ shops to open and it is claimed that ‘clusters’ of shops are leading to more crime, higher policing costs and misery for local people. “We need new powers to keep bookies’ shops away from town centres,” said a spokesman for the association. He added that there could be as many as eight on some streets.

A bill to introduce legislation to help block betting shops in town centres has been introduced to Parliament. The comments by the Local Government Association will go to a parliamentary committee of the Department of Media, Culture and Sport, which governs British gambling, which is investigating whether current gambling laws in the UK are adequately protecting children.

However, the Association of British Bookmakers has argued back that betting shop numbers stand at 8,500, down from 15,000 in 1960. However, it admits that current commercial pressures are forcing more bookies to relocate into town centres.

by David Snook

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