Gambling venues are more likely to appear in economically deprived areas than affluent areas of the UK and the trend is persistent, according to a recent report by The Standard Life Foundation.
Publishing its ‘The Geography of Gambling in Great Britain’ report, the organisation cited that 21% of gambling premises were based within the most deprived decile of areas of the country.
This is compared against just 2% of gambling premises being located within the UK’s least deprived areas as Standard Life’s research focused on the relationship between different gambling premises and deprived areas of the country.
Analysis conducted with the University of Bristol detailed that arcade venues registered the highest amongst deprived areas, with 34% of venues located within the UK’s most deprived boroughs.
Although UK gambling saw a decline in gambling venues to 10,000 licensed premises, Standard Life reported that this figure is still higher than the amount of the UK’s eight leading supermarkets with 9,900 stores.
The research highlighted that the association between deprivation and the number of gambling premises was strongest amongst the UK’s 637-licensed bingo venues, followed by Arcade and Family Entertainment Centres.
Additionally, the report concluded that bookmakers remained ubiquitous across the UK and the trends were similar: retail outlets tend to be in concentrated city centres, equating to a weaker correlation with deprived areas. A breakdown of bookmaker premises saw Glasgow hold the highest number of betting shops with 194 locations, representing one shop for every 3,264 people. Glasgow was followed by Liverpool (136) and the City of Westminster.
Standard Life detailed that its report had been presented to DCMS review of the 2005 Gambling Act and policy panels leading the UK government’s ‘levelling-up agenda on geographical inequalities.
The report will likely reignite concerns about ‘clustering by gambling venues’, which the UK sector had been previously accused of during its FOBTs examination – which saw machine staking reduced to a £2 wager limit enforced across all gambling venues
Gambling Harms APPG Chair Carolyn Harris issued a statement reading: “It’s targeting the most vulnerable in society, both economically and those who may have a problem.
“It’s a testament to what we’ve always said, which is that the industry puts profit before people. It’s not unexpected but it’s disturbing.”