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British gambling premises located in most deprived areas

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A recent study reveals that the majority of gambling premises in the UK are located in the top 10% of most deprived areas.

Gambling is an activity many across the globe enjoy partaking in whether at online casinos or at land-based establishments. One thing to take into consideration is the location and the impact on those within close proximity of gambling premises.

Recent studies in the UK reveal that the majority of the land-based gambling premises can be found in poor neighbourhoods.

Shocking statistics

According to a study by the University of Bristol, 21% of British gambling premises are spread across the country’s most deprived areas. The study also shows that only 2% of the premises are in the top 10% of the least deprived areas.

The study, The Geography of Gambling Premises in Great Britain, is a full analysis of the country's land-based gaming sector. This includes everything from betting shops to casinos, adult gaming centres (AGCs), bingo venues and family entertainment centres (FECs).

According to the study, the relationship between deprivation and gambling premises for bingo was the highest. With about 30% of the venues located across the deprived areas. Followed closely by AGCs and FECs.

The report also shows that 24% of casinos and 18% of betting shops are found in these areas. On top of that, the study reveals that the highest number of gambling treatment centres are also located in this area. The number is at 17%, which according to researchers could be due to the high number of gambling venues within the area.

A massive area of concern is the 9% of schools being as little as 250m away from the nearest betting venue. Giving over 742,000 pupils easy access to gambling outlets.

Updating the law

According to researchers, the examples of evidence and policy are used by local authorities to prevent the clustering of gambling premises. However, it is still a difficult task to challenge the license application.

With this research, the hope is to highlight the mismatch of the amenities available in the left-behind areas and compare them to those that are more affluent according to Jamie Evans, Senior Research Associate at the University of Bristol.

Evans states that instead of having access to a wide range of facilities, services, and opportunities that improve quality of life, deprived communities are stuck facing more harmful choices.

The gambling industry might be providing much-needed employment. But at the same time, it brings hardship and increases social problems.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport is currently reviewing the 2005 Gambling Act to update the rules and UK regulations for a modern market.

In 2020 the House of Lords select committee requested the new act should give licensing committees the same powers regarding licensing premises for gambling as they have for the sale of alcohol.

According to Standard Life Foundation Chief Executive, Mubin Haq, the only way to really level up is to create gambling reforms that will take into consideration the geography of gambling venues. On top of that, it is vital to give local authorities more control in terms of licensing.

The fact is that Brits spend around £5 billion in gambling venues with around 44% of gambling taking place in land-based venues. This makes it even more important to reform and restructure the land-based sector creating a safer overall gambling environment.

All focus is on the government and the current changes being brought to the Gambling Act 2005. The hope is that it will improve the situation without decreasing the gambling revenue brought in annually.

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