Bookies’ shops face new clampdown in South Tyneside

New gambling rules have been backed by the council's cabinet. The moves come after it was revealed  �13,000 a day is spent on fixed-odds machines in the borough.
New gambling rules have been backed by the council's cabinet. The moves come after it was revealed �13,000 a day is spent on fixed-odds machines in the borough.

Gambling rules aimed at protecting vulnerable South Tynesiders who lose £4.5 million a year have been backed by councillors.

New principles aimed at protecting the most vulnerable from becoming victims of gambling have been given the seal of approval at a meeting of the council’s decision-making cabinet.

They will now go before a meeting of the full council next year to get the official green light.

The Campaign for Fairer Gambling has figures which show about £4.5million – £13,000 a day – is lost annually by people in the borough playing fixed-odds gambling machines.

The key change planned is that, from April, applicants for new licences, or existing licensees wanting to change their licence, will need to submit a local risk assessment.

This will include taking into account the proximity of their premises to schools and places for vulnerable people who could be harmed or exploited by gambling.

Coun Tracey Dixon, lead member for area management and community safety, said: “We recognise that gambling can be a simple pleasure that many people enjoy in moderation but we also know that it can become addictive and lead people into all sorts of problems.

“With that in mind, we have a responsibility to make sure our vulnerable people are not put at risk and, by working with local businesses to implement these guidelines.”