EAST Staffordshire Borough Council has pledged its support to a campaign to ‘stop the spread’ of betting shops in town centres.
It has become one of 63 local authorities to sign up to the nationwide effort, in the hope of persuading the Government to step in and help solve what many see as an escalating problem.
The group, which is backed by the organisation Local Works, is calling on those in charge to change planning policy to make it harder for new bookmakers to open.
Councillor Julian Mott, leader of East Staffordshire Borough Council, said: “Councils like East Staffordshire feel powerless to stop the spread of betting shops in their areas.
“The change would make it easier to stop new betting shops opening and is supported by the Local Government Association and Mayor of London, Boris Johnson.
“The spread of betting shops has been linked with gambling addiction and crime.”
At the moment, betting shops are in the same planning category as banks, estate agents, and other financial services, meaning companies do not have to apply to the local authorities to move into these buildings, nor restaurants and cafes, bars or takeaways.
The 63 councils are aiming to persuade the Government to introduce a separate class, to allow local authorities greater control. MPs have previously refused to make the change in the law.
It is hoped this could prevent the continued spread which has been seen in many parts of the country, thereby improving the High Street and potentially curbing issues with increasing gambling addiction.
Figures from Fairer Gambling suggest that £41,715,007 was gambled in Burton in 2012.