Council given powers to tackle betting

Betting machines have been linked to gambling problems

Betting machines have been linked to gambling problems

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An MSP has welcomed new powers that could stop the “reckless clustering” of betting shops.

Angus MacDonald, who represents Falkirk East, has endorsed rules that will allow councils to block any change in premises to a betting shop, allowing officials to tackle clustering and over-provision.

The SNP politician welcomed the move after a Holyrood committee backed changes to planning regulations.

He has also supported the campaign against the clustering of betting shops and fixed-odds betting terminals, which can be connected to problem gambling and personal debt.

Mr MacDonald said: “It is great news that Falkirk Council will have the power to stop the clustering of betting shops in our communities, a practice which has disproportionately affected many deprived communities.

“While plenty of people enjoy a casual flutter, the proliferation of betting offices – often concentrated together – has led to serious cases of problem gambling and debt. Falkirk Council will now have the power to set limits that work and prevent reckless clustering – a big step forward for communities across the district.

“I hope officials and councillors will make full use of these new powers.”