She is inviting Mary Portas, who is leading an independent review into the High Street, to visit her constituency of Camberwell and Peckham so she can see for herself the negative impact of betting shops on high streets there.
In her report Harriet Harman says:
“High streets in low-income areas across the UK are blighted by the prevalence of bookmakers.
“The lives of many of the people in those areas are also blighted by the problem gambling that they exacerbate; this is driven by the proliferation of high-stake, rapid play B2 gaming machines in bookmakers.
“The question of B2 machines is just one part of the picture. There is also the important question of how local councils and communities could be given more powers to limit the number of betting shops opening.”
Harriet Harman calls on the Government to take action:
“This must and can end. The Government should take action by amending regulations under the Gambling Act 2005 to lower the limits on stakes and prizes for B2 machines.
“There must be the right protection in place for our high streets and vulnerable communities. The evidence from my own constituency of Camberwell and Peckham, and from across the country, clearly illustrates the need to end the domination that gambling firms are extending over our high streets.
“Now is the time for action to prevent these shops from blighting our high streets and the lives of the most deprived people in our communities.”
Clive Efford MP, Labour’s Shadow Sports Minister with responsibility for gambling and licensing, said:
“The presence on our high streets of gambling machines that can take up to £18,000 in one hour is having a devastating effect. I hope the industry appreciates that and takes action. I want to work with them on this very important issue.
“No-one is saying people shouldn’t have the pleasure of placing a bet but we need to ensure the right protections are in place for our high streets and vulnerable communities. These machines have changed the very nature of bookmakers, with over 40% of their profits coming from these machines.”