MP backs tack­ling bet­ting now

Rutherglen Reformer - - News - Douglas Dickie

Mar­garet Fer­rier MP has wel­comed plans to give coun­cils more pow­ers to tackle prob­lem gam­bling.

A Holy­rood com­mit­tee has backed pro­pos­als that will let lo­cal au­thor­i­ties block any change in premises to a bet­ting shop.

Ms Fer­rier, who has pre­vi­ously spo­ken out against fixed-odds bet­ting ter­mi­nals, hopes South La­nark­shire Coun­cil will use the pow­ers to tackle the clus­ter­ing of bet­ting shops.

She said:“It is in­cred­i­bly wel­come news that South La­nark­shire Coun­cil will soon have the power to stop the clus­ter­ing of bet­ting shops in our com­mu­ni­ties; a prac­tice which has a very clear and dis­pro­por­tion­ate ef­fect on our most de­prived com­mu­ni­ties.

“Many peo­ple en­joy a ca­sual flut­ter, but the pro­lif­er­a­tion of bet­ting of­fices in close prox­im­ity on main streets has led to se­ri­ous prob­lem gam­bling and house­hold debt for too many.

“Dur­ing my time lis­ten­ing to ev­i­dence about fixed-odds bet­ting ter­mi­nals with the all-party group on gam­bling, I have seen first-hand of the enor­mous neg­a­tive im­pact that gam­bling can have on lives, and wel­come any move to pro­tect vul­ner­a­ble peo­ple.

“Coun­cils will now have the power to set lim­its that work and pre­vent reck­less clus­ter­ing – a big step for­ward for our com­mu­ni­ties.”

The de­ci­sion was taken last week by the del­e­gated pow­ers and law re­form com­mit­tee.

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