Storm over plans for ‘Vegas-style’ casino


[from Islington Tribune]

Islington Tribune – by PETER GRUNER
Published: 17 October 2008
Finsbury Park Labour councillor Phil Kelly wants residents to protest against plans for a casino
Finsbury Park Labour councillor Phil Kelly wants residents to protest against plans for a casino

Storm over plans for ‘Vegas-style’ casino

HEADTEACHERS are backing a campaign opposing plans to turn an amusement arcade in Holloway into a “Vegas-style”, high-paying gambling casino.
Objectors are expected to attend an Islington Council licensing committee meeting hearing a bid by Agora Amusements (Leisure World UK) to increase the number of high- value £500 jackpot machines from four to 12 at the old Nag’s Head pub in Holloway Road.
Yerbury Primary School headteacher Mary Gibson said she was disappointed by plans to expand the arcade. She added: “I didn’t want the arcade to win the licence for gambling in the first place. But if they are allowed more of the bigger payout machines it will put a lot of pressure on hard-working and hard-up residents.
“It’s all right if you win the jackpot, of course. But very few ever do. The majority can spend hundreds of pounds or more just trying to win. These machines are aimed mainly at those who can’t afford them.”
Finsbury Park Labour councillor Phil Kelly has called on residents to join the protest at the 10am meeting on Monday at the town hall.
“They have dozens of small payout machines but the big high-value ones are the real earners,” he said. “Under a loophole in the law, Agora are able to have 12 big machines if they split the arcade into three distinct areas.
“It’s a cynical attempt to win more money from residents at a time of growing financial hardship. We’re not talking about penny arcade machines – this is Vegas-style gambling. It’s totally inappropriate for this area.”
Labour councillor Janet Burgess is fighting a similar battle in Archway, where Agora has acquired a shop at 31-33 Junction Road. She added: “Hundreds have signed a petition against change of use. It used to be a nice kitchen shop called Emily’s Home. Now they want another gambling den.”
A spokeswoman for Leisure World in Watford said there was no one available to comment yesterday (Thursday).

[from Islington Gazette]

Bid to split gambling arcade into three rejected

nlnews@archant.co.uk
22 October 2008

AN attempt to treble the number of high value gambling machines at an arcade by dividing it into three premises has been thrown out.

Agora arcade, in the old Nag’s Head pub in Seven Sisters Road, Holloway, opened despite protests from local people. The company provoked fresh fury by launching a bid to treble the number of high value machines on site by splitting the old pub in to three individual arcades.

Gambling law forbids having any more than four ‘Las Vegas-style’ machines – with a jackpot of £500 – in any one amusement arcade.

Director Matthew Deith thought that by splitting his arcade into three smaller ones, he could have 12 high value machines on site.

But councillors slammed him for trying to exploit a loophole in the law and rejected the application.

Councillor Ursula Woolley (Liberal Democrat) said: “This gambling company is blatantly trying to exploit a loophole in the law.

“What’s the point in having so-called rules if there are easy loopholes for gambling companies to use anyway?” Nigel Woodford, a prop-maker with two children at Grafton School – near to the arcade – told the meeting: “It is the same building, the same staff – to claim it is three different premises is a total sham.”

Under questioning, a lawyer representing Mr Deith admitted: “The purpose of the split is to put more high value machines in.

Reacting to the verdict, Mr Woodford said: “I did not expect it but I am absolutely delighted.”

Agora declined to comment but did not rule out an appeal.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s