THE latest UK industry statistics, over the six months to September, show that active betting shops closed at a rate of more than 13 per week.

Bookmakers await crucial news on the government’s future directives relating to fixed odds betting terminals, since there were 342 fewer shops than in March.

“The pace at which betting shops are closing is very bad news for the future of a retailer that has been a fixture of the high street for over 55 years,” said Malcolm George, chief executive of the Association of British Bookmakers.

“The government are currently consulting on gaming machines in betting shops. Any significant change in regulation could lead to over half of all shops closing and the loss of a further 21,000 jobs while doing nothing to address problem gambling.”

The Gross Gambling Yield (GGY) for remote firms was £4.7 billion, representing a 10.1 per cent rise compared to April 2015 to March 2016.

Across the entire British gambling industry, the GGY was £13.7bn between April 2016 and March 2017, a 1.8 per cent increase on the figures for the previous 12 months.

Gambling Commission executive director Tim Miller said: “These latest figures show that the gambling market is continuing to grow, particularly in the online sector.

“However, with such growth comes a great responsibility for operators to prevent gambling-related harm to all consumers and the public.

“We would urge all gambling businesses to be acutely aware that as their market grows so too will our focus on ensuring consumers are protected.”

One South African operator quipped: “If 13 betting shops were to close here every week, there’d be none left at all by Christmas!” – extracts from Racing Post.