YEP Says, December 10: Responsibility rests with gamblers and not the betting shops

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...and university investment ups its pulling power

BETTING firms are like any business – their purpose is to make money by satisfying demand.

So it’s hard to see how Leeds City Council can prevent such companies opening in less well-off areas, even if there are valid concerns as to the impact on those who can least afford to lose their money to gambling.

Still, it is telling that, while the total number of bookmakers in the city has remained fairly constant, there has been a noticeable increase in shops in less wealthy areas.

Betting companies refute the suggestion that they are targeting poorer people – and could it be that fewer shops are required in wealthier areas because more residents living there bet online?

Such firms do need to be aware of their social and moral obligations when it comes to those who are likely to develop a gambling problems.

However, ultimately it comes down to a question of personal responsibility. It is up to the individual to decide for themselves whether or not they should gamble.

Where there is a stronger case for intervention is on the issue of fixed odds betting terminals.

These machines result in people losing too much money too quickly and have been described as “the crack cocaine of gambling”. Reducing the maximum stake from £100 to £2 would mitigate their impact.

University investment ups its pulling power

THE striking lines of Leeds University’s new Laidlaw Library won’t be to everyone’s taste – but there’s no denying that it’s set to be an impressive building.

Aimed at first and second year students, it will attempt to redefine what a modern library is, with more emphasis on group working rather than solitary study.

The work is a potent symbol of the latest phase in Leeds’s growth as a university – next year alone will see £120m worth of redevelopment on the campus.

Such facilities will serve to encourage even more students to come to Leeds to complete their degrees – and hopefully persuade more of them to stay.