Listed betting operator Paddy Power, has been criticised by UK MPs and anti-gambling campaigner, after research from the Campaign for Fairer Gambling (CFFG) showed that 61% of Paddy Power’s 327 UK betting shops were located in high density immigrant areas such as Newham and Brent in London.
Anti-gambling campaigners have criticised the bookmaker of deliberately targeting immigrant areas knowing that they are at greater risk of problem gambling, as cultural differences mean that certain ethnic groups including Muslims, Chinese and Indians are less likely to seek professional help regarding problem gambling.
CFFG consultant Adrian Parkinson stated that the figures demonstrated Paddy Power retail strategy of targeting the UK’s poorest areas where it could make the ‘highest profits’ from it fixed odds betting terminals (FOBTs)
“It is blatantly clear to me that Paddy Power has a development strategy that was based on targeting those areas producing the highest profits on FOBTs and invariably those areas had a demographic mix with a high number of ethnic minorities, particularly Asian and Chinese. In more recent years that mix has been added to by eastern European immigrants with the Poles figuring prominently” Parkinson stated
Labour MP Thomas Docherty accused the operator of “cynically making a profit off the back of Britain’s ethnic minority and most impoverished communities,”. The MP further stated that she would use the findings to back reforms allowing local councils to cap the number of bookmakers on UK highstreets
A spokesperson for Paddy Power said: “We do not target areas based on ethnicity. Like every other retailer our shops are located where there is high customer demand for our services.
“As a relatively new entrant to the market, with less than 4 per cent of the UK’s betting shops and without the historical estate of our competitors, this tends to be in urban areas with dense populations.”