Hartlepool pub wins its bid to install another gaming machine
A popular Hartlepool pub has won permission to add a new gaming machine following increased demand in recent months.
Bosses at the Owton Lodge, in Stockton Road, have been given permission to increase the number of gaming machines it has on site from from three to four by councillors.
The application went before Hartlepool Borough Council’s regulatory sub-committee, which backed the proposals, ruling suitable measures are in place to ensure no underage children use the machines, in line with the Gambling Act 2005.
The proposals will see the pub provide a third Category C gaming machine at the site, which are limited to a maximum stake of £1 and a maximum prize of £100, and are only to be used by players aged 18 and over.
The site also has a one category D gaming machine, which are those with stakes up to 30p, offering a maximum prize of up to £50 in non-money or £5 in money, that can be played by all ages.
Sarah Lowther, general manager at the Owton Lodge, said the new machine will be right next to the bar to allow them to monitor who uses it.
She said: “We have never been as busy as we are now with guests, and what we’re finding is the two machines aren’t enough, we’re getting people queuing to play the machines.”
She added the pub has made great strides to attract more families in recent times, meaning they will be watching “24/7”, with CCTV also in place.
She said: “They [staff] know that it’s through two years worth of challenging people’s behaviour that we’ve got to this point now and they don’t want it to go backwards.”
She added all staff at the pub complete extensive training to ensure they are able to manage the machines and follow licensing objectives.
Dawn Clarke, from Mitchells & Butlers, which runs the site, added they employ a company to test visit all of their venues twice yearly for underage gaming.
She also noted nationally that they are testing pressure mats for machines, which would flag up to staff when someone is using them, allowing a check to ensure they are of age, which could be brought into Owton Lodge.