Petitioner: Jonathan McColl
30 September 2012
Calling on the Scottish Parliament to urge the Scottish Government to urgently review the correlation between the prevalence of betting shops and cheque cashing / pay day loan type shops on our high streets and in our communities, and high levels of poverty and deprivation and to use any evidence found in such a review to support the introduction of new planning powers for councils and other empowered authorities to refuse permission for premises of these types on the grounds of overprovision; when supported by robust statistical evidence of high levels of deprivation in communities to be served by such establishments.
13 November 2012: The Committee took evidence from Jonathan McColl and Murdoch Cameron, Chairman, Balloch and Haldane Community Council. The Committee agreed to write to the Minister for Local Government and Planning, the Gambling Commission, the Office of Fair Trading, the Gambling Reform and Society Perception Group, the Association of British Bookmakers and the UK Government. Link to Official Report 13 November 2012 (438KB pdf)
19 February 2013: The Committee agreed to write to the Scottish Government. Link to Official Report 19 February 2013 (374KB pdf)
30 April 2013: The Committee agreed to write to the Scottish Government. Link to Official Report 30 April 2013 (484KB pdf)
17 September 2013: The Committee agreed to close the petition, under Rule 15.7, on the grounds that the Scottish Government has investigated what could be done but has concluded that it does not see a role for planning; the areas are, in the main, reserved to the UK Government, and the Scottish Government continues to pursue action where it can. Link to Official Report 17 September 2013 (597KB pdf)
The petition speaks for itself and I would welcome comments, questions and public debate on this issue.
I would like to make it clear that I am not anti-gambling. I have used my local betting shops and sometimes bet online on football matches.
But I recognise that problem gambling causes significant issues for individuals, families and communities, and the prevelance of betting shops, increasing availability of access, does not help people overcome their problems.
For those with the most serious problems, cash advance / pay day loan shops next door to betting shops do not help, and when people get into financial difficulties, the high interest, excessibve charges and agressive collection policies only exacerbate the problem.