Councils are setting up a taskforce to tackle concerns about the "damaging" impact on high streets of growing numbers of betting shops.
The Local Government Association (LGA) said leading betting companies had agreed to discuss the issue, as well as problem gambling.
Councils have warned that "ineffective" licensing and planning laws leave them powerless to act on community concerns and stop the spread of betting shops in already saturated areas or areas of high deprivation.
The first meeting of the taskforce today will consider options including a national voluntary agreement between local government and the betting shops, and changes to legislation controlling betting shops.
Tony Page, the LGA's licensing spokesman, said: "The launch of this commission is a significant landmark for councils desperate to protect communities from the damage that can be caused to high streets from clustering and to residents from the harm of problem gambling.
"Councils are not anti-bookies but are frustrated by the current licensing system which leaves them powerless to act on community concerns and limit the number of betting shops opening up in their areas.