The Fairer Gambling campaign focused on getting its message across at the review of betting shop clustering in Haringey. We worked hard to get all of the key information to the participants ahead of the discussion on November 10, and raised our concerns over the bookmakers’ motivation to open more shops and the potential repercussions for the people of Haringey.
One focus for the review is to question why there are so many betting shops in Haringey. Once you consider all the facts the answer to this question is actually quite straight forward. It is also indicative of a wider problem surrounding a lack of effective legislation in the UK. The gaming regulations permit a maximum of four betting machines per shop and, based on the bookmakers annual accounts, it turns out that these machines provide the betting shops with around half of their revenue. It is easy to understand, then, that the bookmakers are just maximising profits by having more machines – albeit in multiple locations in close proximity.
If the Haringey Overview and Scrutiny Committee take this line and start asking the obvious questions, it will be interesting to see if the bookmakers agree that it is these machines and the revenue generated, combined with the limit on number of machines per betting shop, that is driving the growth in numbers of Haringey betting shops.
We’ll be blogging on all the issues that should be addressed in the run up to the review, so check back soon for more information. You can also visit the Haringey Council overview by clicking here.