Join date: May 14, 2022

The Government should forthwith undertake the assessment of casino regulations which it promised would take place in 2014, and apply the same regulations to all casinos, regardless of when they opened. Clustering of betting shops

As we have explained,106 the liberalisation of the regulation of gambling has led to an increased presence of gambling services on the high street. This followed the recommendations of the Budd report: “As with casinos and bingo halls, we think that demand is best assessed by potential operators on commercial grounds alone

The evidence we have received suggests that the demand test is currently employed by bookmakers to drive away competition. This restricts new trade and is not good for the punter. We recommend that the demand test should be abolished for betting shops.”

The demand test for betting shops, bingo halls and casinos was therefore replaced by a duty for the Gambling Commission to “aim … to permit gambling in so far as the Commission think it reasonably consistent with pursuit of the licensing objectives.”

Section 153(2) of the Act imposes a similar duty on local authorities: “In determining whether to grant a premises licence a licensing authority may not have regard to the expected demand for the facilities which it is proposed to provide.”

Allowing operators to decide “on commercial grounds alone” where to locate new betting shops has resulted in betting shops being disproportionately located in places where people can least afford to gamble: what is referred to as “clustering” or “bunching”. The Estates Gazette’s evidence showed that “more than half of the nation’s 6,000 bookies are in the UK’s most deprived areas”110, and that 56% of all the big four’s betting shops are located in the top 30% most deprived areas in England.

78% of the stores of Paddy Power are located in the top 40% most deprived areas.112 An article published in the Estates Gazette at the same time included the chart below showing that over 20% of betting shops are located in the top 10% most deprived areas, with only 2% in the 10% least deprived areas; in between there is a direct correlation.

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