For anyone interested, the topic has hit the headlines again today. The Local Government Association has been calling for more powers for councils to fight applications from betting shops. Full info here
I listened to an interview with the CEO of the Association of British Bookmakers (ABB) on 5Live's Breakfast Show; he described betting shops as a "warm and friendly" leisure environment and dismissed claims that the numbers have spiralled. Listen here (interview starts at 36 mins in). He specifically mentioned Haringey in highlighting this; stating that there's only been a slight uplift from 59 in 2005, to 63 in 2011.
My research on Haringey Council's website shows that there are in fact 65. Plus, in the grand context of gambling, this 65 doesn't include Haringey's 'adult gaming centres' - and it's a borough-wide total, one that doesn't take into consideration the 'clustering' and concentration of shops in particular streets.
Dirk Vennix from ABB invited his fellow interviewee into a shop to experience what a fun environment it can be. And I would challenge him to take a promenade down Green Lanes or Wood Green High Road past our myriad establishments. I think "fun" is absolutely the last label anyone could use.
The local government association's calls are useless and hopeless. Even if they got extra powers, as soon as they tried to exercise them they would fail because the barristers of the gambling industry would point to the all embracing, over-arching powers in the Gambling Act, which gave the gambing lobby almost everything they wanted.
"Aim to Permit" [new gambling premises licences] is the all-powerful direction in the Act to local authorities. If that isn't enough, we are told one of the aims of the Act is to promote open competition in a free, unrestricted market. Only "market demand" would determine the number of shops. Never mind the addictive aspects and the anti-social effects.
Without change in the Act, nothing meaningful will change. Extra local government power will only cause more confusion and more court cases. Great for lawyers; not so great for communities.
The BBC has an interesting article here.
I'm with you, AntK - I say line all the bookmakers up against a wall and shoot them. And what kind of name is "Dirk Vennix"? That's some kind of Unholy Moniker if ever there was one. He's probably an alien from the Planet Zog!
Vixen Drink more likely
And I'm a dampish wooer !
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