High Stakes on the High Street

  oresome 17:06 05 Aug 2012

You may have noticed that many shops are closing down on the High Street.

But not Betting Shops. They are multiplying due to a change in legislation made by the previous Labour government. The greatest density of Betting Shops is now in the poorest areas and the biggest money spinner is a fixed odds betting terminal than can accept bets of £100 every 30 seconds.

Gambling can be addictive and can ruin lives.

Do we need a nanny state to control what is good for us, or can we make our own minds up how we spend our money?

Harriet Harman now regrets the legislation passed by her Party. Wasn't the outcome fairly obvious?

  Aitchbee 17:17 05 Aug 2012

All betting shops where I stay are a 'good thing' as they keep me out of the pub ;o]

  Aitchbee 17:57 05 Aug 2012

This link was from a similar discussion 4 months ago:-


I think there are far too many in my little patch...12 at the last count.

I have been on many a 'bookie-crawl' to get the best odds.

  birdface 18:01 05 Aug 2012

It took years and years for the government to step in and make bookies close at a reasonable time.Now they are open to all hours and some of them have off shore banking and avoiding the high uk tax.

A lot of husbands in the early years went straight into the bookies from work and lost there wages before they even got home.That was one of the reasons that they had to close earlier than they do now.

  Forum Editor 18:30 05 Aug 2012

"Wasn't the outcome fairly obvious?"

Of course it was, but sometimes politicians who legislate aren't personally aware of the complexities of an issue - they listen to advisers, and although that can be a good thing it isn't a substitute for personal knowledge.

Gambling does ruin lives, but so does alcohol. Both are harmless enough if indulged in responsibly, and that happens in the vast majority of cases. In both cases substantial numbers of people are not able to moderate their behaviour however, and serious problems can result. I cannot see that the huge number of betting shops in this country make money from people who simply pop in for the occasional flutter - large numbers of people are betting regularly and in some cases very heavily.

What we shouldn't be doing is making it easier to feed an existing addiction, or to develop one. I have also noticed a big increase in the number of betting shops on the high streets. Figures released a year ago showed that an average of 11 betting shops were opening in Britain every four weeks, and that can only mean one thing - more money is being spent on gambling at a time when the economy is having a rough ride. In Deptford in South London there are ten betting shops in the high street.

The Fixed Odds Betting terminals you mention are a particular concern. It was estimated that in 2011 they generated more profit for the shop owners than over-the-counter betting. In the year 2009/10 they produced 44% of the total profit from betting. These machines offer players instant wins on roulette, and in the view of some campaigners they are targeted directly at certain socio-economic groups. The ratio of betting shops per head of population is far higher than in more affluent urban areas.

  Bing.alau 18:33 05 Aug 2012

If husbands are stupid enough to gamble away their wages and wives are stupid enough to let them, then so be it.

I suspect the tax man gets a damn big slice of the cake too and we need all we can get to keep this country going at the moment.

I still can't believe people can't resist spending money as I am a bit of a miser myself I suppose.

  Woolwell 18:59 05 Aug 2012

It seems to me that there has been an big increase of ads on TV for betting. Some making it sound as if it is a cool thing to do and obviously aimed at younger men. I do wonder if these ads should be controlled.

  Forum Editor 19:24 05 Aug 2012

"If husbands are stupid enough to gamble away their wages and wives are stupid enough to let them, then so be it."

If only it was that simple. Unfortunately it isn't - lots of people absolutely detest their gambling habit, yet they can't stop. As for wives being 'stupid enough to let them'. That isn't as simple as you seem to think either.

  interzone55 19:25 05 Aug 2012


I suspect the tax man gets a damn big slice of the cake too and we need all we can get to keep this country going at the moment.

There's no long a tax individual bets, that was scrapped a few years ago, now bookies gross profits are taxed at 15%. This only counts for high street bookies.

Much betting is done online & over the phone, and these are pretty much tax free as the servers are mostly in Gibraltar...

  lotvic 19:56 05 Aug 2012

Betting, gambling, fruit machines, Bingo etc have never appealed to me - just can't see the sense or any 'fun' in it.

However yesterday I was dragged into an amusement arcade by grandchildren who wanted to collect their prizes from some tickets they had. I was taken aback by the number of people with children from babies upwards all of whom seemed hellbent on emptying their pockets for the chance to win a few boiled sweet lollies. I watched one adult allow a child (looked about 6yr old) with her to feed a machine with a £1's worth of 2ps and heard whoops of joy when they won total of one lolly that costs between 5-10p in the shops.... The intense look on the face of the child as she fed in the 2ps was frightening.

That was my first visit and I shan't be going in there again.

  Aitchbee 20:18 05 Aug 2012

...it was an amusement arcade machine in Saltcoats circa 1963, (6 little horses with famous jockeys on their backs) that led to my gambing 'decline'...Scobie Beasley paid 6d; Lester Piggott paid a 1 shilling.I got skint.

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