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PORTSMOUTH City Council is one of 63 authorities asking the government to change the law so people can have a say on whether they want a betting shop on their high street.

At the moment betting shops are classed as A2 financial services, which means they are in the same planning category as banks and estate agents, and can move in without planning permission.

But Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson, leader of the city council, said: ‘Betting shops are taking up many units across the country.

‘Gambling addiction is a major problem and it can ruin families.

‘We are not saying no to every betting shop, only that the law is changed so local people can have a say on whether or not they want a betting shop close by.’

The council is has joined the campaign set up by pressure group Local Works.

It believes more betting shops has caused an increase in gambling addiction, leading to family and social breakdown.