A major new study has revealed bookmakers are one of the nation's most female and youth friendly industries.
More than half of betting shop staff are women; and a further quarter are aged 18-24.
The revelation comes in a new report from the respected Centre for Economics and Business Research. 'Betting on Britain' is the most substantial report on the industry in a generation and also shows that betting shops contribute £3.2 billion to the UK economy
Bookmakers make a significant contribution to all regional economies, most notably in the North East where the industry contributes £205 million to the economy.
The proportion of women employed in betting shops puts the industry in line with journalism (56 per cent) and ahead of financial services (27 per cent) and IT (21 per cent). One in four betting shop employees are aged 18-24, compared to almost one in ten across the economy as a whole.
Women and young people have been hit disproportionately by the economic crisis. Youth unemployment peaked at over 20 per cent and currently stands at 17 per cent2. Austerity measures mean that women, who make up 65 per cent of the public sector, have shed jobs at a faster rate than men3.
The study confirms that the betting industry is continuing to invest in Britain's High Streets, which have suffered as major names and sectors have left including Woolworths and Clinton's Cards. CEBR estimates that, in today's money, bookmakers have already invested some £2 billion in local economies over the last decade, through opening new shops and the re-fitting of older betting shops, equivalent to an average of £150,000-£200,000 per betting shop.
Dirk Vennix, the Chief Executive of the Association of British Bookmakers, said:
“This is a major piece of research which confirms the positive impact that bookies have on society and the British economy. Bookmakers are proud to be at the forefront of an enterprising private sector, providing jobs where they are needed most.
"We are a progressive industry which is committed to providing real opportunities to women and young people.
"Bookmakers have been firm supporters of the high street throughout these difficult economic times.
"We continue to attract shoppers to the High Street, which is good for everybody.”
Oliver Hogan, Head of Microeconomics at the Centre for Economics and Business Research, said:
“Bookmakers make a massive contribution to the UK economy.
"Unlike many businesses, bookmakers make a significant contribution to all regional economies, from £205 million in the North East to £219 million in the West Midlands.
"This strong regional footprint demonstrates how valuable bookmakers are, at a time when many regional economies are struggling.”