Margaret Hodge MP has responded to the Government’s consultation to review gambling machines and social responsibility measures. The number of betting shops in Barking and Dagenham is now at an all-time high with 51 gambling premises registered in Barking and Dagenham and 20% of these are located in Barking Town Centre. Barking and Dagenham is one of the poorest boroughs in London but estimates show that constituents have spent £38,732,500 on Fixed Odd Betting Terminals prior to September 2015.
The Government’s consultation is currently reviewing gaming machines and social responsibility measures. The consultation aims to ensure legislation strikes the right balance between allowing the industry to grow whilst protecting consumers and communities. The deadline for the consultation was Sunday 4th December and the government will respond in due course.
Crime statistics show that in the past year police received 213 computer-aided dispatches (CADs), which are calls to the police, from betting shops in Barking and Dagenham for either anti-social behaviour or crime related incidents. The majority of CADs from bookmakers tend to be for violence against the person which is one of the most prevalent crimes in the borough.
Margaret Hodge MP said: “Betting shops in the borough are at an all-time high and things are getting worse. These shops are targeting vulnerable areas like Barking, which leads to more anti-social behaviour on our streets. The concentration of betting outlets is bad for our high streets and stops other shops opening in the area. The highly addictive Fixed Odd Betting Terminal machines allow up to £100 to be bet every 20 seconds and the number of them in Barking and Dagenham continues to rise. I want the Government to understand what impact these machines and betting shops are having on our area. They need to get their act together and stop the number of these machines and shops rising in our Borough.”
Read more about more about the campaign in the Barking and Dagenham Post here