Betting shops on Sydenham High street...Why so many?

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Betting shops on Sydenham High street...Why so many?

Post by Kingfisher78 »

I have recently moved to Sydenham and I have noticed that there are 4 betting shops within a few metres of one another. 2 Ladbrokes, a William Hill and a Paddy Power.

Why is there a need for 4 betting shops within a few metres from each other when our high street is lacking in restaurant's, homeware shops, stationary shops, clothes and shoe shops?

Though there are some affluent areas in Sydenham, there is also some privation. Poorer areas with higher levels of unemployment are targeted by betting shop chains, causing gambling addictions to increase and many go in and spend much more than they planned to.

Furthermore, most of the betting shops look unkempt. For example, the Ladbrokes on the corner of Newlands Park Road has paint peeling from all over it. Why can't Ladbrokes invest some of the money they make into renovating from the outside? Because they know they will have customers either way.

I am not advocating that there be no betting shops on the High Street, because people should be able to choose how they spend their leisure time, but merely that there is not the need for so many to be within walking distance from one another. Furthermore, that as a community we encourage more businesses to open that add positively to our neighbourhood such as the Dolphin, On the Hoof, Cherry and Ice, Calabash of Culture, Wellbeing, Harbour 321, Kirkdale Bookshop, Smart Chaps and others.

Tim Lund
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Re: Betting shops on Sydenham High street...Why so many?

Post by Tim Lund »

I think it's an unintended consequence of some legislation which Tessa Jowell was responsible for. Simon knows the details.

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Re: Betting shops on Sydenham High street...Why so many?

Post by Eagle »

Very sad. I would imagine most customers are not flush with money.

Logic should tell them in the long run most lose.

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Re: Betting shops on Sydenham High street...Why so many?

Post by simon »

Tim is right to say that the proliferation of betting shops is an unintended consequence of the 2005 Gambling Act. The Act was the work of Tessa Jowell who has recently admitted that she got some parts of the Act wrong.
The two main contributing factors the perceived increase in betting shops are a change in the licensing system and the introduction of fixed odd betting terminals, or FOBTs.
Prior to Act, operators had to obtain a license through a magistrate’s court and pass a “demand test”. They had to rove there was sufficient demand in an area and existing operators would always claim there wasn’t. It was therefore very difficult to open a new betting shop. Now, all that is needed is a Gambling Commission operator’s license, which are rarely refused.
FOBTs are what are really driving the opening of new shops. Each shop is allowed up to four machines and the last time I looked each machine yielded an average win of £800 for the bookmaker. That’s an additional £3,600 per shop with very little additional overhead. Prior the Act the machines were limited to casinos and it has been said that the Act created 10,000 small high street casinos.
Paddy Power moved into a site between William Hill and Ladbrokes because that is there UK retail strategy; find somewhere with at least two existing shops and try and poach their customers by offering better customer service, offers and more pleasant shops.
We actually have less betting shops in Sydenham that before the Act. There used to be a Coombes where Beer Rebellion is now and another one down towards Bell Green. There was also an independent on Newlands Park so Sydenham had seven shops. With those gone and Paddy Power opening were currently at five.
There could soon be a change in Sydenham’s retail betting landscape with the merger of Ladbrokes and Coral. The Competition and Market Authority is currently consulting and will probably rule that the merged company divest itself of some of its shops. It is unlikely that any will close, however, they will just be sold to other operators.

Pat Trembath
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Re: Betting shops on Sydenham High street...Why so many?

Post by Pat Trembath »

I seem to remember a Coombes Betting shop where Blue Mountain Cafe is now.

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Re: Betting shops on Sydenham High street...Why so many?

Post by alywin »

I think there are 3 within spitting distance of each other on Penge High Street as well :(

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