'Hundreds of thousands' supporting bookmakers petition

'Hundreds of thousands' supporting bookmakers petition

Wednesday, December 7, 2016 Posted by Andy McCarron
ABB initiative garnering support in face of attacks

The Association of British Bookmakers (ABB) has clarified its position on a number of policy areas after the betting sector was singled out by Sir Robin Wales in his position as mayor of London Borough of Newham.

The council in Newham has been lobbying hard to reduce the number of betting shops and the stakes offered by B2 Machines (more commonly known as FOBTs) and believes the government’s Triennial Review into stakes and prizes will make a difference.

Wales said: “Since 2008 Newham have tried to rein-in the gambling industry but despite our strenuous efforts and the wishes of our residents we have been unable to stop the blight of betting shop clusters on our high streets.

“We now have 84 betting shops in our borough - that’s over six for every square mile! Reducing stakes on FOBTs is the only way to ensure our high streets are appropriately regulated and this will make bookies re-think the number of shops they want operate on our streets, particularly in deprived areas.

“On behalf of Newham’s residents and our 92 other local authority supporters we look forward to the Government taking firm and swift action to address this issue.”

However the ABB pointed out to TotallyGaming.com that betting shops do serve a need in the UK. It said: “Hundreds of thousands of customers have signed a petition backing their local bookies. It is great to see so many customers pledging their support for a retailer that has been trading in our town centres and on our high streets for over 55 years.

“Unlike stakes and prizes in other gambling sectors which have regularly been increased, the stakes and prizes on betting shop machines have not changed for over 12 years, which is effectively a 30% real terms cut. Despite this, the ABB will not be calling for an increase in stakes or prizes in this review.”

Totally Gaming says: The rhetoric around betting shops is mainly one way, so the ABB’s attempts to get bookmakers’ customers to ‘support your local bookie’ is perhaps the most effective way of getting the government to listen to the other side of the argument. Newham’s approach to gambling is also an odd one, given the council welcomed the UK’s first 2005 Act casino containing more gaming machines than all the borough’s betting shops put together.

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