Cantillon: UK court backs Paddy Power
Court overturns Newham council’s refusal to grant Paddy Power licence to open new shop
UK court overturns Newham council’s refusal to grant Paddy Power a licence to open a new betting shop in east London. Photo: Bloomberg
Yesterday’s decision by a court to overturn Newham council’s refusal to grant Paddy Power a licence to open a new betting shop in east London will come as a relief to the both the Irish company and the industry as a whole.
The local authority’s decision looked very much like it had been stoked by a recent furore over a connection between anti-social behaviour and bookies’ shops on British high streets.
Whatever has been said in other forums, the court in this instance said the council’s case was “wrong” on the basis of the evidence presented.
In fact, district judge Paul Goldspring concluded that the granting of the licence would be reasonably consistent with the licensing objective of preventing crime and disorder.
Reforms of Britain’s laws in 2005 made it easier to get betting shop licences, but lately there has been a backlash against this. British shadow culture secretary, Harriet Harman, a Labour MP for Camberwell and Peckham, is one of the campaign’s more vocal figures.
While she has given the campaign some political heft, the Newham ruling at least indicates that it will take a change in legislation, rather than a change in planners’ attitudes, if people want to place new limits on betting shop
The reality is that such a change is going to require support from the UK’s coalition government, or at least the memberships of the parties that make up the alliance. Harman is an opposition MP.
It’s also worth pointing out that the reform of Britain’s gambling legislation was a Labour government initiative, and many of those who supported it then are continuing to pursue political careers from the opposition benches.
The odds against a change in legislation look long.
Paddy Power is leaving nothing to chance – no bookie does.
The company has pledged to maintain dialogue with the local councils and intends to donate the costs it has been awarded to local communities.