In a detailed recent survey it has been proved that the UK’s most deprived areas have more than 10 times the number of betting shops than the most affluent parts of the country, research shows.
Gambling venues are concentrated in the most deprived areas of Britain, often against the wishes of people who live nearby, according to a report commissioned by the Standard Life Foundation charity. “Those with the least resources are being targeted more,” the report indicates.
Analysis of the geography of betting shops, amusement arcades and bingo halls by academics at the University of Bristol found there are more than 10,000 gambling venues in Britain, higher than the number of supermarket sites.
Of those betting shops, 21% of them were in the most deprived decile of areas in Britain, while 2% were in the wealthiest. For comparison, 10% of supermarket chains’ stores were in the poorest areas, while 7% were in the most well off.
Glasgow had the most betting shops, one for every 3,264 people, with Liverpool, poorer parts of London and Middlesbrough not far behind.
The report also raised concerns that half of the 348 gambling treatment services mapped by researchers were within five minutes’ walk of a betting shop.
Local authorities should have greater powers to prevent gambling venues from opening up, the report said, pointing to a YouGov survey from 2018 showing that 73% of people would not want a gambling venue on their “ideal high street”.
Carolyn Harris, who chairs a cross-party group of MPs examining gambling harm, said: “It’s targeting the most vulnerable in society, both economically and those who may have a problem.
Thinktanks, however, have previously highlighted the costs to the economy associated with gambling. A report by the Social Market Foundation claimed that tougher regulation to prevent gambling disorder would boost the economy, while the Institute for Public Policy Research has estimated the economic cost of gambling addiction at up to £1.2bn per year.