Green Party calls for crackdown on gambling

A woman uses an internet gambling website to play online roulette: Gareth Fuller/PA
A woman uses an internet gambling website to play online roulette: Gareth Fuller/PA

The Green Party have commented on Sheffield Councils’ revised statement of Gambling Principles.

The statement sees the council recognise the important of public health in relation to gambling for the first time and also discusses how the licensing authority will determine whether new gambling premises will increase crime and disorder, when considering new applications.

Green Party councillor Douglas Johnson, 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 anti-social behaviour related to gambling and betting shops.”

However, the Green Party Councillor thinks that the council should make it harder for new betting shops to open nearby to other betting shops.

Coun Johnson said: “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.”

The Green Party would also like Fixed Odds Betting Terminals to be addressed by the council’s policy.

Fixed Odds Betting Terminals were introduced by The Gambling Act 2005 and allow users to place up to £100 at a time on a single bet.

Coun Johnson said: “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.”

The licensing authority recommends that license holders work closely with GamCare, the nation’s leading provider on advice, information, support and counselling for prevention and treatment of gambling addiction.

Sheffield Labour group declined to comment.