Southend has most betting shops per person in Essex

Echo: Coral and Paddy Power in Southchurch Road Coral and Paddy Power in Southchurch Road

SOUTHEND has the most betting shops per person in Essex – with a concentration almost 50 per cent higher than the next ranked area.

The borough has a bookmaker for every 3,758 residents – a concentration 46 per cent greater than that in Harlow, which has one for every 5,492 people.

Southend Council is considering changing its planning policies to prevent clusters of betting shops in the High Street, where up to three shops in a row are bookmakers.

Southend is Essex’s biggest town and attracts six million visitors a year, but anti-gambling campaigners and the town’s Labour group has become concerned betting shops are taking over the town centre.

Basildon, meanwhile has 24 betting shops while Castle Point has 12 and Rochford just seven.

Matt Zarb-Cousin, of Southend, one of the founder members of the Campaign for Fairer Gambling, said: “It’s really short-sighted to fill an empty unit with a betting shop.

“They only employ one to two full-time staff.

“It’s taking money out of deprived communities and it’s not translated into jobs.”

The campaigner says chains are opening multiple brances to get around a law limiting the number of fixed odds betting terminals, described as the “crack cocaine of gambling”, to four per shop – a claim the industry strongly denies.

Gambling industry lobbyists have pointed to the 200 jobs the 36 shops in the town have brought and Rochford and Southend East MP James Duddridge has warned critics of a “snobbish and aloof attitude” to a legitimate leisure pastime.

The Conservative, who has credited betting shops and the town’s two casinos with regenerating Southend, said: “Betting shops provide employment and are responsive to market demand.

“I am not surprised there are that number of betting shops locally.

“Southend also boasts a large number of restaurants, bars, clubs and other leisure activities.

“Southend is a glorious place to live in and visit.

“While gambling needs to be acknowledged, the industry forms part of a successful and balanced local economy. Southend has a myriad of leisure offerings.

“We should not have a snobbish and aloof attitude to what is a legitimate leisure pursuit.”

Julian Ware-Lane, Labour councillor for Milton, who has campaigned against fixed odds betting terminals, said: “I’m not anti-gambling or betting shops, but my concern is we are saturated.

“We are streets ahead of the rest of Essex and it makes me uneasy.”

On Monday, a cross-party group of councillors will discuss the authority’s plans to look into the problem.

Comments (10)

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6:54am Thu 3 Apr 14

whateverhappened says...

darn.. i had a fiver it would be harlow.
darn.. i had a fiver it would be harlow. whateverhappened
  • Score: 10

7:13am Thu 3 Apr 14

DogsMessInLeigh says...

shows you how many desperate people in southend.
shows you how many desperate people in southend. DogsMessInLeigh
  • Score: 8

7:36am Thu 3 Apr 14

leighman says...

Ratholes, populated by idiots that think they can get out of their pathetic ( often self induced) circumstances by spending their hard earned benefit loot in the belief some nag crossing a line will change their lifes.... Mind you, the bookies at the top of Hamlet Court Road offers free toast on Saturday mornings!!!
Ratholes, populated by idiots that think they can get out of their pathetic ( often self induced) circumstances by spending their hard earned benefit loot in the belief some nag crossing a line will change their lifes.... Mind you, the bookies at the top of Hamlet Court Road offers free toast on Saturday mornings!!! leighman
  • Score: 8

8:50am Thu 3 Apr 14

InTheKnowOk says...

Sad existence sitting in a betting shop all day .. Ban the lot of them I say .. Casinos as well ...
Sad existence sitting in a betting shop all day .. Ban the lot of them I say .. Casinos as well ... InTheKnowOk
  • Score: 5

12:27pm Thu 3 Apr 14

pembury53 says...

bookies are the 'barometers of failure' so expect some more in westcliff / southend .....
bookies are the 'barometers of failure' so expect some more in westcliff / southend ..... pembury53
  • Score: -2

12:29pm Thu 3 Apr 14

ekcoanarak says...

DogsMessInLeigh wrote:
shows you how many desperate people in southend.
The last hope of the sad sack.
[quote][p][bold]DogsMessInLeigh[/bold] wrote: shows you how many desperate people in southend.[/p][/quote]The last hope of the sad sack. ekcoanarak
  • Score: -2

12:30pm Thu 3 Apr 14

ekcoanarak says...

DogsMessInLeigh wrote:
shows you how many desperate people in southend.
The last hope of the sad sack.
[quote][p][bold]DogsMessInLeigh[/bold] wrote: shows you how many desperate people in southend.[/p][/quote]The last hope of the sad sack. ekcoanarak
  • Score: -2

4:15pm Thu 3 Apr 14

runwellian says...

Of course Southend tops the list,
this is MP David A-mess choice of second city of culture ... I can't stop laughing!
Of course Southend tops the list, this is MP David A-mess choice of second city of culture ... I can't stop laughing! runwellian
  • Score: -3

9:33pm Thu 3 Apr 14

profondo asbo says...

pembury53 wrote:
bookies are the 'barometers of failure' so expect some more in westcliff / southend .....
suicide is painless.
[quote][p][bold]pembury53[/bold] wrote: bookies are the 'barometers of failure' so expect some more in westcliff / southend .....[/p][/quote]suicide is painless. profondo asbo
  • Score: 1

9:42pm Thu 3 Apr 14

profondo asbo says...

prefer the boarded up shop? bookmakers are legitimate businesses that pay rates and tax (granted the communists might struggle with that concept).

bookmakers are counter-cyclical businesses so until we clear up the previous government's carnage (holding your breath is probably inadvisable) enjoy the "renaissance" in the high street.
prefer the boarded up shop? bookmakers are legitimate businesses that pay rates and tax (granted the communists might struggle with that concept). bookmakers are counter-cyclical businesses so until we clear up the previous government's carnage (holding your breath is probably inadvisable) enjoy the "renaissance" in the high street. profondo asbo
  • Score: 1

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