Lordship Lane citizens were backed up by Tottenham MP and several councilors in their protest against the opening of a Paddy Power betting shop in the area.
One of the most famous Irish bookmakers, Paddy Power, is having hard time as numerous protesters are expressing complete dissatisfaction of new opening of their shop in Lordship Lane, UK.
This disapproval is provoked to a high extend by the rapid spread of the “Fixed odds betting terminals” (FOBT), which are currently called by many “the crack cocaine of gambling.” Their negative fame is primarily due to their highly addictive nature.
Lordship Lane citizens were protesting against the opening of a Paddy Power betting shop in the area
• They were supported by David Lammy, Tottenham MP, and several councilors
• The protesters are worried that more betting houses will cause even higher anti-social behavior in Lordship Lane
• The current legislation is in favor of betting shops
FOBTs came to the UK in 2001 and since then are gaining more and more disapproval among the society, especially because they seems to be stimulating problem gambling by letting people place countless bets – up to GBP 100 every 20 seconds, with the possibility to win up to GBP 500.
Currently, the prospects of the betting terminals are not quite clear as UK citizens and local authorities are completely against them, but the profits they bring force the government to think twice before intervening.
There are above 33,000 machines in the UK at the moment and the revenue they bring is just insane – over GBP 1.5 billion/year. These figures make FOBTs opposers even more convinced that these terminals are one of the major reasons for the high levels of problem betting in the country.
Moreover, even the restriction by the UK gambling laws for only four machines in one betting shop, can’t stop bookmakers from introducing more and more terminals in order to have higher profits. What they tend to do is just opening more branches, so that the law is obeyed and still the revenues are incredibly high.
The current protest against new Paddy Power betting shop in Lordship Lane is not a surprise given the overall spirit in the country regarding problem gambling.
Perhaps this is the reason why David Lammy, Tottenham MP, and several councilors joined the Wood Green protest, showing support to the people.
The campaigners, protesting outside a Wood Green pub, were standing firmly behind their position that they don’t approve of a third betting shop in the area.
The protesting residents expressed their deep anxiety about the worrisome figures regarding the higher levels of anti-social behavior in Lordship Lane. Some of them considered the expansion of the betting business as one of the major reasons for that.
George Schon, who lives near the Dunbar Road, commented: “We have a William Hill and a Ladbrokes, and it means there is a problem with large groups of men loitering and causing trouble. It’s intimidating.”
He continued: “There are a lot of vulnerable people in the area. Lots of kids use the road to go to school and they are going to build a nursing home in the area. It is not safe for them.”
MP Lammy added: “It is a shame when local people cannot determine the makeup of their own high streets. Why do we need three premises for betting on this road? What sort of signal does that send to the kids as they go to school?”
The current legislation
The protest is happening right when there is a demand towards the Government to give more power to local authorities, so that they can decide for themselves how many betting shops they want to allow in the area.
Currently, bookmakers do not need special planning permission to open in premises that were previously serving as financial institutions, like banks for example. The new legislation, which will be implemented in May will allow for betting houses to open in a larger number of sites without the need for obtaining planning permission.
Joseph Ejiofor, councilor cabinet member for planning and enforcement in Haringey, commented: “The current legislation is tipped in favor of betting shops, and high streets like this one are being badly affected. I’m not anti-bookmaker, but councils should be able to decide on whether they need another betting shop.”