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With more betting shops than supermarkets, gambling has become a ‘public health issue’


Glasgow, Liverpool, Middlesbrough and parts of London have the highest number of betting shops per person.

Measured by deprivation, 21 percent of gaming sites are in the bottom 10th of the country. But the most affluent areas have only two percent.

A report by the University of Bristol, backed by the Standard Life Foundation, says about 44 percent of the UK’s gambling took pace in betting shops before the pandemic, with punters splurging £5billion annually.

Although the number is declining, we have more betting premises than shops run by the big eight supermarket chains put together.


Mubin Haq, of Standard Life Foundation, said: “Problem gambling is a public health issue, causing serious harm to finances, livelihoods and relationships.

“Those with the least resources are being targeted more, with twice as many gambling venues on their doorstep as supermarkets.

“If we are to truly level up, reforms must take into account the geography of gambling venues and give local authorities more control over licensing.”

Researchers also found half of the UK’s gambling treatment centres were within 270 yards of their closest betting shop.

Jamie Evans, senior research associate at the University of Bristol, said: “The research highlights the clear mismatch between the amenities available in ‘left behind’ areas, compared with those that are more affluent.

“Rather than having greater access to the facilities, services and opportunities that help people to improve their lives, those in more deprived communities are disproportionately faced with choices that can often prove harmful.

“While the gambling industry may offer some much-needed employment in these areas, it usually takes much more than it gives, leaving a legacy of greater hardship and increased social problems.”

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