Just in case Dispatches doesn't bother to mention them, here are the facts. The number of betting shops peaked in 1973 at over 15,000. In 2003, the Department for Media, Culture and Sport published a document showing what happened between 1987 and 2003. What happened was numbers continued to fall gradually...
In 2003, there were 8,804 bookies in operation. I can't find the figures for 2004-2008, but in 2009 there were 8,862. Today, in 2012, there are 9,128. The number of bookmakers has therefore risen by less than 4 per cent in the last ten years (broadly in line with population growth) and remains lower than at any time between the 1960 legalisation and 1996.
If there is a perception that betting shop numbers have rocketed in recent years, it is because the recession has caused the rent on commercial property to fall and so betting shops have been able to move from the side street to the high street.
I understand that Dispatches will focus on fixed odds betting terminals—the new bogeyman of the anti-gambling movement. There are valid questions to ask about where these devices should sit in the regulatory ladder, but do not be fooled into thinking the country is awash with betting shops.