A limit on the number of betting shops in Killarney is to be considered by councillors.
Restrictions already exist on the number of fast food outlets in the tourist town. Now some councillors are concerned about the spread of bookmakers.
A curb on betting shops is to be discussed in the context of the new town development plan.
With a population of 13,426, at the 2006 census, Killarney will soon have 11 bookmakers. On any given night at the height of the tourist season its population swells to three or four times that number - 2.2 million bed nights a year are sold in Killarney.
Several of the major betting chains are on the town's main streets and are also on key approach roads. Recently a bookmakers opened in a former post office on the eastern edge of the town and a former credit union building on New Street is the subject of a planning application for a betting shop.
Too many bookies' shops are giving a bad impression of the tourist town, councillors say.
The betting shops have a strong tourist and local patronage but also benefit from the town's large migrant worker population. Killarney has large numbers from south-east Asia as well as eastern Europe.
The increase in bookmakers has surprised some, especially given the increase in online betting.
"We have too many bookies. Fifteen years ago we had three bookies' shops," Councillor Donal Grady (Ind) said.
Cllr Tom Doherty has asked the council to impose restrictions. He has nothing against "a flutter" but wants a mix of different shops in the town centre. It was not good for Killarney's image to be known as "a betting town" he said.
The mayor of Killarney, Niall O'Callaghan, called for a tough stand, treating bookmakers like fast food outlets which are severely restricted under current planning regulations.
However, restricting betting shops will not be easy, say council officials. They do not need planning permission if locating in former financial institutions such as credit unions or banks.
The Irish Times