ABB responds to Southwark betting levy plans

ABB responds to Southwark betting levy plans

Friday, August 2, 2013 Totally Gaming

The Association of British Bookmakers responded to reports that high street betting firms could be hit with a levy of 10pc on their turnover by saying that betting shops make a 'significant contribution to the London economy'. Southwark council reportedly wants to impose the charge — which could raise around £40m a year — to tackle problems caused by betting shops.

A statement from the ABB said: "[The high-street] betting industry supports more than 11,500 jobs and provides £627m per annum.

"The total number of shops has remained stable for the past decade." the statement said. "In Southwark, the number of betting shops has actually decreased since the introduction of the 2005 Gambling Act falling from 81 in 2007 to 78 today.

"Our shops are located in areas of high footfall and economic activity. This is purely a commercial decision and to suggest otherwise is both wrong and offensive.

"Betting shops are one of the most regulated outlets on the High Street and require two licenses from a local authority and the Gambling Commission in order to operate.

"The truth is that local authorities already have sufficient powers to prevent new shops from opening where there is evidence that a betting shop would cause harm to the local community. These include Article 4 Directions and Neighbourhood Development Orders.

"At a time when London has 7,000 vacant shops, local authorities should be doing all they can to support jobs and growth.”

The Labour borough believes they keep other businesses off the high street and prey on people in poorer areas, and should be forced to contribute financially to the community. Mayor Boris Johnson has labeled betting shops 'a growing menace' in the capital and demanded changes to the Gambling Act to limit their spread.

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