Newham Council backs campaign to change betting shop licensing category

Betting shops could find it harder to get a license if the campaign is successful

Betting shops could find it harder to get a license if the campaign is successful - Credit: Archant

Premises licenses for betting shops could be harder to get if a campaign supported by Newham Council is successful.

It is one of 63 local authorities demanding the law is changed to separate them into their own planning class, which would enable councils to refuse new applications.

Currently, they are in the same category as banks and estate agents, which means they can move into premises without permission and under law the councils must aim to permit them.

Bookmakers are limited to four terminals per shop but not to the number of outlets they can open in an area.

Last year in Newham, £96,564,547 was inserted into fixed odds betting terminals alone, leading to losses of £18,347,264 - the equivalent of £1,894 for every gambler who uses the machines in the borough.

Matt Zarb-Cousin, from the Campaign for Fairer Gambling, said: “Whilst putting betting shops back in their own use class is a welcome step in the right direction, at best it will stem the problem of fixed odds betting terminals rather than solve it.

“To be fully effective, planning reforms should also include a demand test.

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“Councils should not have to aim to permit new betting shops either, and they should not be subjected to legal challenges when they object.”

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