Report dismisses ABB data on betting shops

19 December 2014

A study sponsored by the Association of British Bookmakers (ABB) that claimed  the “majority of betting shops are in the least deprived areas" has been branded as “very misleading” by a new report.

Landman Economics tested research carried out by Local Data Company (LDC) for the ABB, by using data gathered by both Geofutures, another retail information provider, and itself.

The Landman report, carried out by Howard Reed, a former chief economist at the Institute of Public Policy Research, found that the LDC’s claim that betting shops are likely to be located in areas of low deprivation is “an artefact of the fact that their analysis is restricted to urban areas only”.

“Overall, the results of the LDC analysis are very misleading, and are contradicted by more careful and robust research from a variety of sources,” Reed said.

Landman, using Geofutues’ data, claims that over 34% of all betting shops are located in the most deprived quartile compared to only 16 per cent in the least deprived quartile.

It says therefore that areas with the highest levels of deprivation have more than twice as many betting shops as areas with the lowest levels of deprivation

Landman also cited evidence that the presence of payday loan outlets on high streets is positively linked to a preponderance of betting shops, with both types of outlets linked to deprivation.

It said that the number of betting shops and number of payday lenders is strongly correlated with the Index of Multiple Deprivation in local authorities.

Reed’s conclusion is that “the fact that payday loan outlets are much more likely to be in evidence in areas where there are large numbers of betting shops suggests that bookies are ‘preying on the poor’, contrary to the ABB's claim in its initial press release of the LDC's research”.

Landman found that Glasgow, Birmingham, Liverpool, Manchester and Leeds were the top cities for the highest number of betting and payday loan shops in the country.

Across these local authorities there is one pay day loan shop for every four betting shops.

A spokesperson for the Campaign for Fairer Gambling said: “Yet again, bookmaker claims have been shown to be false and without basis.

“We now have conclusive evidence that betting shops, driven by fixed-odds betting terminals, are targeting deprived areas and worryingly they are taking a bigger slice of household income than in more affluent areas.”

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