Local Government Associations to tackle betting shop concerns
Watch out, William Hill. Local councils want to take betting shops, with their addictive gambling machines, to task. They’re concerned that there are MILLIONS of them springing up in local communities like pox on an arse, leading to social problems in areas where there are already high levels of deprivation.
Local councils are currently powerless to stop betting companies from pitching up and saturating certain areas. So, the Local Government Association and local betting companies have agreed to meet today, to consider a number of options, including changing legislation and setting up a national voluntary agreement between councils and bookies.
Tony Page, who heads up the LGA’s licensing committee, called it a ‘significant landmark’ and added:
‘Councils are not anti-bookies but are frustrated by the current licensing system which leaves them powerless to act on community concerns and limit the number of betting shops opening up in their areas.
There are real fears that they can drive already vulnerable people towards financial ruin and that people losing money through high-stake fixed odds betting terminals are turning to payday lenders and loan sharks to pay off debts or fund their gambling.’
But will the Paddy Powers and the Betfreds agree? After all, their modus operandi is to bombard crappy areas with betting shops and get desperate unemployed people hooked on their FOBTs. What will become of the profits?