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Debate in Whitechapel set to focus on impact of betting shops

PUBLISHED: 11:37 28 August 2013 | UPDATED: 11:47 28 August 2013

A punter tries out a gambling machine.

A punter tries out a gambling machine.

PA Archive/Press Association Images

The impact of betting shops on communities will be up for discussion at a public debate due to be held next month.

The Central London Debating Club is to stage its first meeting in the East End, bringing together an expert panel to discuss one of the issues of the moment.

Organisers hope the event, to be held in Whitechapel, will give campaigners the opportunity to challenge those who support the rights of betting shops head on.

Tony Koutsoumbos, who chairs the society, said: “Campaigners say that betting shops foster gambling addictions and pose a real harm to the community, while the industry insists that people are responsible for their own actions and betting shops are simply providing a service and creating jobs in the process.

“We will be asking the ordinary members of the community to grill the panel with your own questions and views and make your voice heard in a debate that would otherwise only be held inside the council chamber.”

Panellists include Adrian Parkinson from pressure group the Campaign for Fairer Gambling and Steve Shaw from community organisation Local Works, both of whom will argue for greater regulation of the betting industry.

Opposing them will be Chris Snowdon, from think tank the Institute of Economic Affairs, and deputy leader of Hammersmith Council Greg Smith, who will argue that betting shops should be treated in the same way as other businesses.

The event, which will be chaired by Tower Hamlets Council’s Conservative group leader Cllr Peter Golds, will be held from 7pm on September 12 at Whitechapel Idea Store in Whitechapel Road.

To register a place, email tony@debatelondon.org.

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