Betting Shop Robberies: Reducing the Risk to Retail Staff

Banks, James; Addis, Nicholas and Waters, Jaime (2020). Betting Shop Robberies: Reducing the Risk to Retail Staff. Gaming Law Review, 24(9) pp. 592–599.



In Britain, the perceived increase in and clustering of licensed betting offices (LBOs) continue to cause much public and political consternation at both a local and a national level. There are currently in the region of 8,700 betting shops in operation, representing a significant decline from their heyday in 1970s when they totalled in excess of 16,000. Despite this long-term decrease in shop numbers, LBOs have never been more prominent in British towns and cities. Reflecting gambling's ascendance to a mainstream leisure pursuit, LBOs have migrated from back street to side street to high street. Today, rare is the city center that is not adorned with the colors of a William Hill, Coral, Ladbrokes, Betfred, or Paddy Power. But although betting shops have undergone significant cosmetic improvements to both their interiors and exteriors, it appears that, for some, the drab image of the illegal backstreet bookie has never quite been shaken off. Indeed, betting shops frequently feature in criticisms of the proliferation and propinquity of a broad array of undesirable establishments—fast food takeaways, lap dancing clubs, payday loan businesses, pawn shops, and bargain booze off licenses—that “appear to trigger forms of repulsion among the middle class because they are seen to embody an excessive or ill-mannered working-class identity that is ‘out of place’ in the gentrifying city.” In particular, LBOs are often perceived and portrayed as predatory and opportunistic organizations that drive out legitimate businesses and exploit and damage local communities.

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