Plans to open slot machine arcade in Hastings due to be discussed

Plans to open a 24-hour slot machine arcade in Hastings town centre are set to go before a council licensing panel next week. 

Wednesday, 6th October 2021, 10:58 am
The application site

On Thursday (October 14), Hastings Borough Council is due to consider an application from the high street gambling chain Merkur Slots to secure a bingo premises licence at a former pawnbrokers in Queens Road.

The application comes as Merkur Slots — which also trades as the Cashino chain — is in the process of seeking planning permission for an Adult Gaming Centre (AGC) at the same site.

While the licensing application has not seen objections raised by any members of the public, the proposals have seen objections raised by East Kent Leasing Limited — a limited company tied to The Godden Gaming Organisation which operates Palace Amusements in White Rock. 

The competing gaming group argues the bingo premises licence sought by Merkur Slots would be inappropriate given the main activity would be for slot machines. 

The group also argues Merkur Slots has not carried out an appropriate risk assessment of the area or adequately set out what protections would be in place.  

In its letter of objection, a spokesman for the group said: “Of major concern is the issue of single manning at the premises. This in conjunction with the premises opening potentially for 24 hours a day 7 days a week is of real concern. This is compounded by the fact that there are no conditions being offered in relation to the application. 

“It is difficult for the authority to be able to assess whether the premises licence holder will be able to protect children and vulnerable persons from harm or being exploited by gambling from the information that has been provided. 

“The objectors feel it would be impossible at periods of single manning for these protections to be offered.”

As a result of the objection, the council is required to hold a public hearing before determining the application. 

After hearing representations from all parties, the panel will decide whether to grant the licence and if so whether to impose further conditions.