Sheffield Green Party has submitted comments on how betting shops and gambling venues should be licensed
The Council has closed its consultation on a revised Statement of Gambling Principles and Green Party councillors have submitted comments
Douglas Johnson, Green Party Councillor for City Ward, said,
“We welcome the reference to public health being included in the policy for the first time. This is fundamental to protect people from the harm of problem gambling. It is also important to help prevent anti-social behaviour related to gambling and betting shops.
“We have seen Fitzalan square blighted by too many betting shops very close together. We think it should be harder for new betting shops to open very close to existing ones.”
“We also want to see the policy address Fixed Odds Betting Terminals, which can cause serious harm to families through addictive problem gambling. The ability to spend up to £100 a time was introduced by Richard Caborn MP when he was a minister in the Labour Government in 2005.”
Sheffield Green Party’s consultation response states:
- We welcome the reference to public health in the revised Statement. We believe this is key to the Council’s Licensing function and fundamental to protect people from the harm of problem gambling. It is also important to help prevent anti-social behaviour from gambling.
- The Statement should include a specific reference to the council’s Public Health Strategy, which should be given its own section in Part 3.
- Similarly, the Statement should include the Sheffield Joint health and Wellbeing Strategy as an additional section in Part 3.
- Although we agree licensing and planning decisions are separate, we would like the Statement to recognise there are often common factual issues, such as public nuisance. We would like there to be the expectation that applications for licences will normally be supported by evidence of appropriate planning permission. This will also help avoid duplication.
- We would like to see the Statement address the proliferation of betting shops by requiring very careful consideration of applications for new premises that are in the immediate vicinity of existing gambling premises. Fitzalan Square, for instance, has been blighted by the proliferation of betting shops, which has contributed to anti-social behaviour in the area.
- The Statement should specifically address Fixed Odds Betting Terminals, which are currently not mentioned. We believe they can cause serious harm to families through addictive problem gambling.
- The reference to the Equality Act 2010 in Part 3 and Part 12 should be amended to reflect the fact the Council must comply with it, not just “have regard to” it.
- The statement that “The Council recognises how important this sector of the entertainment industry is within the city” is no longer appropriate in light of public health concerns and should be removed.