May 22 2013 Latest news:
Lizzie Dearden, Reporter
Monday, October 29, 2012
The number of betting shops in Redbridge is on the rise with the latest addition bringing the grand total to 84.
A second Paddy Power is opening up in High Road, Ilford, which the company claims will “serve a different part of town”.
It is one of five new shops that have opened in Redbridge in the last year.
Many of the shops are concentrated in Ilford Town Centre but there are also clusters in Barkingside, Gants Hill, Hainault and Woodford.
Ilford Business Improvement District manager Ben Collins said it is crucial to keep “a balance” of shops in the town centre.
He added: “It’s positive that businesses see Ilford as a destination where there’s going to be footfall and there are very few vacant shops compared to other town centres I’ve seen.
“I’m sure some people would say they’d rather shops be vacant than be gambling shops but if the demand is there, they’re paying rates and making jobs, we’ve got to take the positives.”
Sue Cotter, a therapist based in South Woodford, treats gambling addictions.
She said increasing numbers of betting shops can be a bad combination with increased internet gambling.
She added: “Gambling is a draw for people who are unhappy, feeling down and feel that life has dealt them a bad hand will go searching for fun in gambling.
“People will bet on anything, whether its horse racing or whether it will rain today.
“As long as there’s betting shops there, there will be gambling.”
But bookmakers Paddy Paddy power say they support the local economy by creating jobs, using local suppliers and paying tax.
A spokesman said: “This recent opening programme has created around 550 new retail job opportunities in the UK.
“In the next 12 months, we expect to create over 250 more new jobs.
“As in this case with Ilford High Road, a typical new betting shop delivers five new retail job opportunities – these are real positions, not temporary or casual employment, and we are committed to continued career development.”