The Betting Industry
According to the Health Surveys 2012, 65% of the population gamble in one form or another so it is something many people enjoy doing.
Betting shops have been trading on the high street for over fifty years and the style of the shops and the products have changed over that time.
From the smoke-filled windowless units of the 60s and 70s, bookmakers are now modern leisure business, showing sporting events on large screen TVs, and offering free teas, coffees and snacks for customers. In addition to traditional betting on sports like horse-racing or greyhounds, betting shop customers now bet on a variety of sports and events, from live football matches to who will win the X-Factor or the General Election.
There are now around 9,000 betting shops trading on the high street, compared to 16,000 in the 70s and 80s, employing over 40,000 people and serving eight million customers. 84% of all betting shops are located in commercial centres, in line with many other types of retailers.
The industry is a now a highly regulated one, under the terms of the Gambling Act 2007 and overseen by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport.
The Gambling Commission is the regulator of all forms of gambling, and every betting shop in the country is licenced by the Commission to operate, while local authorities licence individual shops in their area to open.
Betting shop operators voluntarily donate towards the Responsible Gambling Trust, which provides funding to charities to run treatment programmes and provide help to the small number of people who have developed problems with gambling – without that funding many of those programmes would not exist.