Betting Shops and Gambling Addiction

A documentary about gambling addiction...

In the United Kingdom, a betting shop is a shop away from a racecourse ("off-course") where one can legally place bets in person with a licensed bookmaker such as William Hill, Ladbrokes, or Coral. Off-course betting was illegal until the Betting and Gaming Act 1960 was introduced, although bets could be placed at a racecourse ("on-course") on any event, not just the races being held at that course. Credit betting by post or telephone was legal because of a loophole in the law of "resorting to a house for the purpose of betting" was taken to mean physically resorting to the house rather than simply communicating with someone there.
Gambling in the United Kingdom is common and not regarded necessarily as a vice but a "little flutter on the gee gees", but there are strict controls on where and how a bet can be placed. (They may not be placed in pubs, for example.) The Gambling Act 2005 covers those controls, and the Gambling Commission oversees them.
At a betting shop, typically there will be noriceboards listing the racing form for the day's horse racing from trade issues of the Racing Post or a similar equestrian publication.
Until 2005, it was illegal to advertise on the outside of the shop any offer of odds, and most had blank windows; the Gambling Act 2005 relaxed the rules a little, but most betting shops still have covered windows much like sex shops, it is illegal to allow people from outside to see inside.
Most betting shops now offer free tea and coffee to attract punters. They usually have large televisions covering all the events, like an American sports bar. Until 1986 they were not allowed to have live broadcast coverage but the bookmaker often had a small portable television or transistor radio hidden behind the counter. Because punters could not see or hear live coverage, some bookmakers deceived punters by claiming a different result from the actual one, or could otherwise alter the declared starting price. This changed in 1986 and Satellite Information Services was formed to screen live races to betting shops. Greyhound races are now timed to the second on the feed pictures, since a scam that intercepted and slightly delayed the broadcast feed for greyhound races, which typically last less than two minutes. By delaying the feed slightly, an accomplice on-course could communicate by telephone with one in a betting shop off-course who had already seen the result, and thus bet on a racing certainty.
In 2013–2014 there was significant controversy with more betting shops springing up on High streets in the United Kingdom encouraging poor people to gamble, especially to play poker machines. Betting shops are strictly regulated in the number of machines they can have and the payout they can provide.[citation needed] On 27 April 2014, the Government announced proposals to give local authorities more power to limit the number and form of betting shops in their jurisdictions.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4