Kingstonians lost almost £6m in betting machines last year, campaigners say

Ladbrokes in Kingston (File photo)

Ladbrokes in Kingston (File photo)

First published in News Surrey Comet: Photograph of the Author by , Senior reporter - 020 8722 6313

Kingston gamblers lost close to £6m on betting machines last year, a lobbying group has claimed.

The Campaign for Fairer Gambling analysed betting companies’ annual reports and Gambling Commission statistics to estimate the figure.

The group said it meant more than 5,000 people had lost £1,100 each on average in fixed-odds betting machines.

This week, the Local Government Association (LGA) laun-ched a commission to address residents’ concerns about the spread of betting shops in high streets. The “big five” companies – BetFred, William Hill, Coral, Ladbrokes and Paddy Power – have all signed up to take part, the LGA said.

Kingston Council is one of several councils that took the decision to lobby Government to change planning rules, in a bid to make it harder to open betting shops in vacant bank and estate agent premises.

The shops share the same use class as those businesses, and in some cases do not need planning permission to open.

Councillor Simon Jones, lead member for sustainability, said: “One of the reasons we have a concern is over the fixed-odds betting machines that allow people to lose a great deal of money very quickly.”

He said the rising number of betting shops “drives retail shops off the high street and means the high street does not have a range of goods and services to offer.”

Conservative leader Coun Howard Jones said: “We are implacably opposed to any more betting shops in our high streets and support all and any initiatives to limit opportunities by changes in the planning laws and listening to people.”

Comments (2)

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4:51pm Sat 5 Apr 14

pinky107 says...

and ? like most things in life it's down to the person who does it . no one forces them to gamble , whether it be horses , bingo etc etc . is horse racing going to be more strict on punters , no , so why regulate gambling machines just because some people don't know when to stop . tell the queen to stop gambling on horses then as she could be seen as a bad influence .
the reason the idiots in charge moan is because they want us just to pay taxes and not have any money for our selves .
and ? like most things in life it's down to the person who does it . no one forces them to gamble , whether it be horses , bingo etc etc . is horse racing going to be more strict on punters , no , so why regulate gambling machines just because some people don't know when to stop . tell the queen to stop gambling on horses then as she could be seen as a bad influence . the reason the idiots in charge moan is because they want us just to pay taxes and not have any money for our selves . pinky107
  • Score: -4

2:35pm Mon 7 Apr 14

kingstonpaul says...

It’s the ethos behind the location of these shops that stinks. Like the Ladbrokes in the photo, so opportunely sited opposite Wilkinsons, they deliberately target low-income groups. Clever marketing or cynical exploitation of a vulnerable group?
It’s the ethos behind the location of these shops that stinks. Like the Ladbrokes in the photo, so opportunely sited opposite Wilkinsons, they deliberately target low-income groups. Clever marketing or cynical exploitation of a vulnerable group? kingstonpaul
  • Score: -1

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