Remote gambling could change the tides
By maddy
A new report from the Henley Center, a leading marketing consultancy, predicts the numbers of casinos will almost double from 122 to 241, including five resort-style venues after the Gambling Bill is passed later this year.

The Bill, which is currently at the committee stage, allows for a big rise in casinos and could result in many pubs, bingo halls and amusement arcades shutting down. The report warns that a combination of casinos and restrictions on the number of fruit machines allowed will shut down more than 1,000 pubs as an after effect.

According to Henley, ‘remote gambling’ or gambling via interactive TV, the Internet and mobile phones will see a sharp increase growing by around £2.1 billion, with a £1 billion reduction in traditional or offline gambling. The British Amusement Catering Trade Association, which commissioned the repot estimates, the amount spent on betting and gaming in the UK is set to rise from a current £8.5 billion a year to £10.6 billion by 2010 with the introduction of the Bill.

‘The national figures hide a variety of local impacts which, although they could be positive in term of new gambling venues, could also be negative in terms of closures of bingo clubs and pubs and their associated implications,’ says Ray Stone, a director of The Henley Center.

Stone recommends that the Government takes into account the full social and economic impact of deregulation covering big business, small business, local issues, employment, problem gambling and taxes before passing the bill.

The negative effects include an increase in the number of problem gamblers, which is estimated, to rise from 400,000 (or 0.8% of the population) to 500,000 by 2010 without the Bill, but with the introduction would take the numbers to 700,000 people.

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