Hartlepool reaffirms 'no casino' policy amid new 'one arm bandit' fears
Councillors in Hartlepool have warned of the impact of "one arm bandit" slot machines as they approved the latest gambling policy for the town.
Hartlepool Borough Council has agreed the adoption of the town’s latest Statement of Gambling Principles from January 2022.
This includes the retention of a “no casino” policy to “make an important statement that Hartlepool will not welcome any interest from developers”.
Ahead of the statement’s approval, however, Cllr Moss Boddy raised concerns over the impact of “one arm bandit” gambling machines in Hartlepool.
He said: “We are all very aware the blight of gambling isn’t really about casinos, it’s about people who are vulnerable, unable to make informed choices about how they spend their time and money.
“That tends to manifest itself in one arm bandits, and I think we are all aware, if we spend our time going around the town, there seems to be an ever increasing number of them in the most unlikely places.
“It’s about people having access to gambling, which is an addictive matter, and not being able to be restrained from it by proper and regular supervisory officers.”
Cllr Tom Cassidy, chair of the council’s licensing committee, said he would provide an update to Cllr Boddy in the near future with more information on the number of “one arm bandit machines” and regulations in place.
This came after he presented the report on the latest Statement of Gambling Principles for Hartlepool, which has to be published every three years, although he stressed the “no casino” resolution comes despite there being no expectation that any application for a casino will be made in Hartlepool.