Coral Racing’s plan to open a new betting shop in Preston has been rejected by local officials.
The gambling company asked for a new license under British gambling laws, planning to convert Leisuretime Amusements on Market Place – a property located in the city centre – into a betting shop. The city council’s planning committee turned the offer down, fearing that this might bring an “over concentration” of bookmakers in town.
“The concern I have, in these days particularly of poverty and of vast inequalities that are getting wider, is that people with time on their hands or with depression or with compulsions will end up gambling their money away and their families will suffer as a consequence,” councilor John Browne said at a meeting.
“I do believe in people having the freedom to do what they want, but I am worried that this is happening in Preston and that people in poverty are becoming poorer because of it, while the owners of establishments like this get even richer,” the councilor added.
A big “No” to… potential FOBTs
Coral’s plan was to change the property’s use from an amusement arcade to financial and professional services. However, the majority of local councilors were against it and some even thought the company had plans to install fixed-odds betting terminals at the site.
Local gambling news quoted councilor Drew Gale saying: “I know why these shops are opening – it’s the fixed odds betting terminals. It’s not for people having a flutter on the gee gees. These machines are something far more sinister – the analogy of the crack cocaine of gambling is accurate and they have no place on our high streets.”