The upcoming review of the clustering of betting shops in Haringey is an important milestone in the fairer gambling campaign, and we are fully focussed on raising our concerns over the bookmakers’ motivations to open more shops in close proximity, and the repercussions for Haringey’s residents.
In 2009, there were 2,095 gambling licenses in operation in London – 70 of which were in Haringey – Green Lanes Parade has nine shops within 350 metres of each other. There have also been almost 750 public-order offences related to gambling premises over the past two years in Haringey alone – more than one a day. So we have no idea how CEO of William Hill, Ralph Topping, can justify his claims that betting shops are bringing benefits to the area.
Legislation by the Gambling Commission limits machine numbers to a maximum of four per outlet, and as betting machines provide bookmakers with around half of their revenue, we believe this is the reason for bookmakers opening more betting shops within close proximity of each other. It is easy to surmise that bookmakers are simply maximising profits by having more machines – albeit in multiple locations – and targeting the people of Haringey as particularly susceptible to addictive behaviour.
The fairer gambling campaign does not wish to inhibit gambling, but to encourage fairer gambling for all through better regulation that only the Gambling Commission and the Government can enforce – we believe the targeting of Haringey residents and subsequent clustering of betting shops is unfair, and only benefits the bookmakers.