Opposing the Merkur Slots bingo machines licence application in the former Barclays Bank building is going to be difficult because of the limits on rejection under the legislation.
An on-line gaming company Merkur Slots has been opening dozens of bingo machine arcades across the country over the last couple of years, and is continuing to expand.
The list of current venues is on the Gambling Commission website.
There was strong opposition to Enfield Council having granted a licence the Merkur Slots for premises in Palmers Green in Enfield. The story of the campaign is told in
The Palmers Green Campaign drafted a sample objection letter:
The company submitted Merkur Slots: Social Responsibility, Operational Compliance & Training Documents to the Enfield Council:
Last year under public pressure the Licensing Sub-committee was due to reconsider its decision, but the threat of legal action led it to back down. However, several months later it rejected Future Leisure Ltd’s application for a games arcade in another part of Enfield. Its decision states:
‘1 The licensing sub-committee [LSC] was not persuaded that the risk assessment undertaken by the applicant was sufficient to protect children, young people & vulnerable persons from being harmed or exploited by gambling, especially as the premises are close to many local schools & the train station meaning that many people would pass it regularly.
2 Following all representations by the interested parties, especially IP1 & IP2, the LSC were persuaded that these premises will add to/ increase the existing problems of crime & anti-social disorder within this ward.
3 The LSC were also very anxious that the pavement outside the premises is very narrow making it difficult if not impossible to patrol, as the applicant has suggested they will.
4 The LSC acknowledges that prior to this application there was a betting shop on the premises, which operated without problems. However the LSC believe that these premises as an adult gaming centre with longer hours would bring problems that did not previously exist.’
Meanwhile in Great Yarmouth Merkur Slots applied a year after they first opened to extend their hours to 24hours opening a day. It claimed there had been no incidents.
Opposing Merkur Slots In Norbury
The application can be seen at:
Objections should be sent by midnight 6 April by post to
London Borough of Croydon Place Department
Bernard Weatherill House
8 Mint Walk
Croydon, CR0 1EA
or by email to:
Draft Letter Of Objection
(adapted from the Palmers Green campaign draft)
Review Application for Bingo Premises – Merkur Slots,1432-4 London Rd, SW16 4BZ
As a local resident, I feel strongly that granting a license will be morally irresponsible. I object on the ground of:
- preventing gambling from being a source of crime or disorder, being associated with crime or disorder or being used to support crime.
We do not need another gambling centre in the area. There is already a concentration of four betting shops in close proximity to the proposed new gambling premises. There is a well-known risk that these venues attract money laundering, criminality. These venues encourage behaviour that has a negative effect on individuals, families and communities. The anti-social behaviour this venue will attract after hours is a concern, especially when the police are under-resourced. I am also concerned about walking down the high street late at night when gamblers will be going in and out of the premises.
- protecting children and other vulnerable persons from being harmed or exploited by gambling
This type of venue is totally unsuitable in this area with a large number of growing families and elderly. A lot of secondary school students use Norbury High St because of its public transport and shop at the take-aways. Those coming out of Norbury Railway Station to walk to the bus stop on London Rd to travel south will pass the premises. Neon lights and an alluring shop front will attract a child/young adult’s attention. I am concerned that children will become normalised to gambling on the high street. Children will be exposed to gamblers – and to the risks of antisocial behaviour linked to betting while en route to school, to Norbury and Norbury Hall Parks and local shops.
We witness begging on Norbury High St. It should not be a place where people are encouraged to waste money and get into debt, causing damage to their lives and to their families. There are many more people now struggling financially, making them more vulnerable to such a venue. The situation is becoming worse with the cost of living crisis.
Gambling is related to serious mental health issues with a sharp increase in the number of NHS gambling clinics for 13-25-year-olds who are suffering from addiction. Gambling addiction can result in homelessness, suicide, domestic violence and family breakups.
Before COVID the local Councillors and the Residents Associations were working on an action plan that would try and improve and support the high street, making it a more pleasant environment for the community at a time when local high streets like Norbury are facing huge challenges. The local community are keen to see the local day and evening economy thrive. The opening of a 24-hour Adult Gaming Centre in a prime spot in the high street would be highly detrimental to those efforts.
The proposed operating hours are unacceptable as noise will be created in the early hours to the detriment of those sleeping in the flats above the shops along the High St.
‘ It should be noted that the Enfield Licensing Sub-committee rejected an application for a games arcade from another compnay Future Leisure Ltd, that has premises in New Addington because it was ‘not persuaded that the risk assessment undertaken by the applicant was sufficient to protect children, young people & vulnerable persons from being harmed or exploited by gambling, especially as the premises are close to many local schools & the train station meaning that many people would pass it regularly.’ It further was ‘persuaded that these premises will add to/increase the existing problems of crime & anti-social disorder within this ward.’
3It was also concerned about the narrowness of the pavement outside the premises ‘making it difficult if not impossible to patrol, as the applicant has suggested they will.’
Please reject Merkur Slots application.
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