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Betting goes public

BETTING SHOPS may soon be allowed to mount window displays to entice the public.

High street bookmakers will also be able to advertise facilities inside their shops, such as no-smoking areas, refreshments and comfortable seating, under a consultation document launched yesterday by the Home Secretary, Michael Howard.

The plans would make betting offices more attractive to the public, Mr Howard said. 'The changes would make betting offices a more visible part of the high street and enable bookmakers to provide additional information about their businesses.'

The plans include relaxing restrictions on window displays, the sale of light refreshments, and the size and siting of televisions. The 1963 Betting and Gaming Act allowed the shops to open - but said they had to have blank windows and just the bookmaker's name above the door.