Thursday, 9 January 2014

The Street With 18 Betting Shops

Ministers have said the growth of high-stakes roulette machines on the High Street is "concerning" and they do not rule out action to restrict them.
Culture Minister Helen Grant told MPs their future was "unresolved" and bookmakers must take immediate action to increase protection for players. 
People can wager £100 every 20 seconds on fixed-odds betting terminals.
Labour said they were "an example of David Cameron's Britain" and councils should have new powers to curb them.
But following a Commons debate, Labour's call for local authorities to be given new powers to restrict the growth of the machines was defeated by 314 to 232 votes.
There are more than 33,000 fixed-odds betting terminals in the UK.

Fixed odds betting terminals

  • Fixed odds betting terminals were launched in 1999 after then chancellor Gordon Brown scrapped tax on individual bets in favour of taxing bookmakers' profits
  • High stakes casino-style gambling is banned from High Streets but fixed odds betting terminals used remote servers so that the gaming was not taking place on the premises
  • After the 2005 Gambling Act, fixed odds betting terminals were given legal backing and put under the same regulatory framework as fruit machines
  • They stopped using remote servers but stakes were limited to £100 and terminals to four per betting shop
  • Punters can place a £100 stake every 20 seconds
  • According to the Gambling Commission there are 33,284 fixed-odds betting terminals across the UK
  • The average weekly profit per fixed odds betting terminals in 2012 was £825, up from £760 in 2011, according to the Gambling Commission
  • The number of betting shops in the UK has increased from 8,500 to 9,100 over the past two years, with hundreds more planned

Betting shops in the UK

  • 84% on High Streets and commercial centres
  • Employ 40,000 people
  • Eight million customers
  • 3% of population are regular visitors, says Mintel
  • Before 2008 outlets couldn't open near each other and new shops had to "prove unmet demand"
  • Government wanted more competition so removed these rules
  • This coincided with the downturn - and subsequent empty retail space on High Streets

18 Bookmakers Down One Street

Local councillors say the street in Newham, east London, has more bookmakers than any other in the country - 18 in total - and 80 in the borough as a whole.