Clustering concerns reappear as report cites gambling venues deprived concentration

The locality of gambling venues in economically deprived areas of the UK remains a persistent trend, according to a recent report by The Standard Life Foundation.

Publishing its ‘The Geography of Gambling in Great Britain’ report, the organisation cited that 21% of gambling premises were based within the most deprived decile of areas of the country.

The figure is compared against just 2% of gambling premises being located within the UK’s least deprived areas as Standard Life’s research focused on the relationship between different gambling premises and deprived areas of the country.

Analysis conducted with the University of Bristol detailed that arcade venues registered the highest amongst deprived areas, with 34% of venues located within the UK’s most deprived boroughs.

Despite UK gambling registering a decline in gambling venues to 10,000 licensed premises, Standard Life noted that the sector maintained a high retail presence operating more venues than the UK’s eight leading supermarkets with 9,900 stores.

Research underscored that the association between deprivation and number of gambling premises was strongest amongst the UK’s 637-licensed bingo venues, followed by Arcade and Family Entertainment Centres.

For bookmakers, the research stated that their relationship remained ubiquitous across the UK, as premises tended to be concentrated in city centres – equating to a weaker correlation.  

A breakdown of bookmaker premises saw Glasgow hold the highest number of betting shops with 194 locations, representing one shop for every 3,264 people. Glasgow was followed by Liverpool (136) and the London borough of Westminster (79).

Standard Life detailed that its report had been presented to DCMS review of the 2005 Gambling Act and policy panels leading the UK government’s ‘levelling-up agenda on geographical inequalities.

The report will likely reignite concerns about ‘clustering by gambling venues’, which the UK sector had been previously accused of during its FOBTs examination – which saw machine staking reduced to a £2 wager limit enforced across all gambling venues

Gambling Harms APPG Chair Carolyn Harris issued the following statement: “It’s targeting the most vulnerable in society, both economically and those who may have a problem. It’s a testament to what we’ve always said, which is that the industry puts profit before people. It’s not unexpected but it’s disturbing.”

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