Tower Hamlets Council to restrict locations of new betting shops

London’s Tower Hamlets Council (E14) has confirmed proposals to implement a revised gambling policy which will prevent gambling shops from opening in a number of areas across the borough. 

The East London council, which was amongst a number of others to lobby for a change in FOBT legislation, has only approved the application of one new betting shop over the last five years. 

The new policy will prevent betting premises from opening near schools, playgrounds, residential homes for the elderly or vulnerable as well as hospitals or venues where Gamblers Anonymous meetings are held.

Ann Sutcliffe, Corporate Director, Place Directorate, said: “We know that gambling can take people down a difficult path and that the young, the vulnerable and those experiencing financial hardship are at particular risk of being lured in.

“Having a strong gambling policy provides us with the powers to stem the proliferation of new premises, to stop gambling and debt becoming a trigger for crime and disorder, while also preventing the targeting of children and vulnerable people.”

The move comes as the council renews its commitment to protecting children and vulnerable adults from the pitfalls of gambling. It forms a part of the gambling policy renewal which takes place every three years for licensing authorities.

The changes in the policy were informed by a 12-week consultation held between April and June this year, which found that some residents expressed concern about the impact of high street betting shops. Tower Hamlets’ policy is due to come into effect on 14 December.

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