The Rt Hon David Lammy MP
met President of the American Planning Association (APA), Mitchell
Silver, last week in the House of Commons and took the opportunity
to discuss the way gambling, and particularly the issue of betting
shops, is treated in the USA.
The APA is the largest membership body of planners in the world,
and Mitchell Silver is its first African-American President.
Pictured (left to right) Mitchell Silver and Rt Hon David Lammy
MP in Westminster Hall in Parliament.
Mitchell Silver, President of the APA, said: "Whilst many in the
USA would see betting as a moral issue, it is legal in many areas.
However, there is not widespread support for betting shops and we
do not have the phenomena of betting shops on High Streets but
there are parallels with other industries in the US. Some states
have controls aimed at encouraging diversity within a local economy
and these specify how close similar types of business can be to one
another, and to schools and churches."
David Lammy MP said: "It was wonderful to meet Mitchell, the
'other African-American President', and discuss the parallels and
differences in our planning systems. There is a very different
attitude to gambling in the USA. The massive casinos of Las Vegas
are the exception not the rule. In many states there is no
gambling, yet there are 38 betting shops in Tottenham, one of the
most deprived constituencies in the UK, and their proliferation has
ruined our once vibrant High Streets. I can't help thinking that in
this respect at least, there are things that we can learn from the
Mr Lammy has made calling for a change in the law to stop
betting shops taking over High Streets one of his priorities for
the 2012, and has raised the issue in Parliament several times.
Learn more about Mr Lammy's stance on betting shops here.
Mitchell Silver's visit has been organised by the Royal Town
Planning Institute (RTPI), the membership body of planners in the
UK. During his short visit he gave several lectures across the UK,
and attended a meeting of the committee of MPs who are scrutinising
the Growth and Infrastructure Bill in Parliament.