Council to probe risks of gambling to city’s young

Wakefield Council wants to find out the impact betting is having on the city's health.
Wakefield Council wants to find out the impact betting is having on the city's health.

A taskforce has been set up to look at the “risks” gambling poses to young and vulnerable people in Wakefield.

Wakefield Council wants to find out the impact betting is having on the city’s health, after concerns were raised about the growing number of betting shops in the city centre.

The issue will be looked at by two of the council’s scrutiny committees.

The government recently outlined plans to reduce the maximum stake on fixed odds betting terminals to £2 after Culture secretary Matt Hancock called the machines, often found in bookmakers, a “social blight”.

At a meeting on Monday, Councillor David Jones said that fixed odds terminals was “the biggest issue” facing the gambling industry.

He added: “When I worked in adults and social care, one of the things we looked at what was the triangle of gambling, drugs and fast food.

“It was like a Holy Trinity, of which gambling was a huge part.”

There are currently seven betting shops  operating  in Wakefield city centre.

Officials from the council’s licensing department will be asked to contribute to the inquiry.

Councillor Graham Isherwood, the chair of Wakefield’s Overview and Scrutiny Management Board said: “It’s a shame now when you’re walking through the town centre and you see what used to be a closed shop is now a Betfred, or whatever.”