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Town hall to fight the rise of betting shops in Islington

A punter tries out a gambling machine. A punter tries out a gambling machine.

Sunday, December 8, 2013
1:00 PM

Islington town hall is set to wage war on the borough’s bookies as it calls on the Government to give local authorities power to prevent the rise of gambling on the high street.

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The Leader of Islington Council, Councillor Richard Watts, has written to the Secretary of State complaining that the Government has made it possible for shops to become bookies without planning permission when it weakened planning laws earlier this year.

Cllr Watts concerns surround the future saturation of betting shops on high streets and the strong link between gambling addiction and alcoholism, substance abuse and crime.

Plague

In Islington, the number of betting shops has doubled in the last decade to 72 in London’s second smallest borough: a betting shop for every 3,000 residents. Relaxation of the planning rules could lead to new betting shops and payday lenders across the borough.

Cllr Watts, said: “It’s in the Government’s gift to strengthen planning legislation that supports high street regeneration – so why won’t they help us take action on betting shops?

“Gambling premises are a plague on our high streets, pushing out the independent retailers.”

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