The answer undoubtedly depends on who you ask.
In Chaddesden, Derby there are already four betting shops; one on Wiltshire Road, one on Wood Road and two on Nottingham Road. William Hill have recently submitted an application for a betting shop, which would be the third on Nottingham Road.
Talking to people around the Nottingham Road shops, most feel that two’s enough in that area – and the empty shop would be more use as a butchers, cafe, greengrocers or some other proper retail shop.
Why does William Hill think there’s room for another betting shop here?
Over the last week or so, I’ve been finding out more about the licencing process and the wider betting industry. The Campaign for Fairer Gambling has been very helpful in highlighting that all gambling isn’t the same.
I don’t gamble on principle, but I accept that others wish to, and therefore gambling is something which should be regulated, not prohibited. Prohibition would only send it underground.
The most recent changes to the regulation of gambling in the UK were in the 2005 Gambling Act. While ‘supercasinos’ hit the headlines when the bill was going through parliament, it is the relaxation of controls which are now making the headlines.
One of the most significant relaxations was to allow casino-style gambling into betting shops – not roulette and poker tables, but the equivalent ‘fixed odds’ games built into electronic machines. Each betting shop is allowed four – and it appears that over half the profit from betting shops now comes from them. These machines are more addictive than gambling on horses or football, and people can lose up to £300 per minute – they’ve been called the ‘crack cocaine of gambling’.
So the bookmakers want more shops to house more machines, to fleece more gamblers.
Money spent in these machines means there is less money available for spending on life’s necessities – or luxuries. That’s less money for other shops and services which provide more employment and more worthwhile goods and activities than gambling.
Meanwhile the deadline for objections to the licencing application in Chaddesden is approaching…
PS My objection letter is now available here.