Councils in England are to get stronger powers to prevent bookmakers and betting shops taking over city centres at the expense of other businesses.
Under current regulations, betting shops are in the same building category as estate agents and building societies, meaning that no planning permission is needed to open one.
“…prevent the proliferation of betting shops…” – Jeff Allen, Chairman of the Nottingham Business Improvement District
New legislation will remove betting shops from this category to allow councils to scrutinise planning proposals and veto new betting shops if they are deemed unsuitable for the area.
Nottingham City Council is one of sixty local authorities who have welcomed these governments proposals.
Jeff Allen – Chairman of Nottingham Business Improvement District – believes that the new regulations enhance the Nottingham’s Market Square
Fixed-odds betting terminals will also be reformed to give more protection to gamblers. Those who want to gamble more than £50 in one play will have to interact with staff by purchasing plays over the counter.
Players can currently lose up to £300 a minute on fruit machines and one-arm bandits.
Seven national chain betting shops can be found within a five minute walk of the Market Square, with many more scattered around the suburbs. It is hoped that the new, tighter sanctions will encourage more diversity within the city centre.
Reaction to the legislation from betting experts and shop owners was initially negative, with people questioning the ground on which bookmakers were being targeted.
“I’ve known of customers who’ve lost in excess of thirty thousand pounds…” – John Hassle, Betting Shop Manager
However, this opinion has changed with some betting experts siding with the legislation, citing an already oversaturated market having a negative effect on the industry.
Experts are also welcoming the change as too many bookmakers can encourage gambling addictions. The fruit machines found in the betting shops can cause devastating financial loss if not managed correctly.
John Hassle – Betting Shop Manager