Problem gambling is hurting neighbourhoods and blighting Britain’s high streets. Even some Tories get that
Woodgrange Road, an unremarkable high street in the east London suburb of Forest Gate, has known better times and been known for better things. It was once the home to The Upper Cut, a stellar music venue. The Who played there, Stevie Wonder, James Brown, Otis Redding, Jimi Hendrix and Nina Simone.
Now the dominant feature along the three-quarters of a mile of Woodgrange Road is its betting shops. Along the promenade of tightly packed premises, five vie for trade: Betfred, Paddy Power, William Hill, JenningsBet and, on the other side of the road, Ladbrokes.
Municipal leaders have a clear view on fixed-odds terminals. Critics dub them the crack cocaine of betting