London saturated with Betting Shops and Locals Hate It

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London is currently struggling with post-recession recovery and many retails shops, restaurants and pubs have went out of business in the aftermath. But if there’s one industry that continues thriving in Britain’s capital, it is betting shops.

There are now hundreds of places throughout London where one can pop in to wager on horses, dog races, sporting contests or play fruit machines. The borough of Newham is a prime example of this because 80 betting shops have sprung up on this section’s streets. One Newham street features 80 such gambling dens alone.

A big reason why gambling seems to have taken off in London is that the Labour government abolished obligatory membership requirements for casinos in 2005. This, combined with the loosening of planning regulations, has made it much easier for betting shops to launch in the city. Loosening the red tape behind planning was originally supposed to be about encouraging restaurants and retail stores to open. Instead, it’s created something of a gambling monster.

As the City Lab reports, some residents are trying to fight this movement. South London’s Tooting neighborhood, which already includes 23 gambling dens, fought hard to prevent a 24th one from being built. However, they lost this battle in the courtroom.

While some neighborhoods fight to prevent more gambling shops from springing up, others see these businesses as a convenient way to get their gambling fix in. And as long as this continues, London betting shops will be far more frequent than fewer.

Because of this, some are now comparing London to an older, rainier version of Las Vegas. The gambling laws are lax and the betting options are plentiful, meaning this comparison isn’t too far off. And as the City Lab describes, “it’s now much easier to put money on a horse than, say, buy a screwdriver.”

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