Praise for new tighter gambling laws from Hartlepool council bosses

Fixed odds betting terminal.
Fixed odds betting terminal.

New stricter gambling regulations for Hartlepool have been praised by council chiefs.

Hartlepool Borough Council licensing committee approved an updated version of the gambling licensing laws for the area for the next three years.

Councillor Rob Cook.

Councillor Rob Cook.

The updated laws, produced every three years by the local authority as part of The Gambling Act 2005, contained ‘no significant alterations’.

One matter that had been of concern for the council in previous years was the proliferation of ‘Fixed Odds Betting Terminals’.

However earlier this year the Government decided to cut the maximum stake from £100 to £2, which was praised by the council and included in the new legislation.

The committee previously wrote to the Government campaigning that they reduced the maximum stake on the terminals, often referred to as the ‘crack cocaine of gambling’.

Ian Harrison, Trading Standards and licensing manager for Hartlepool Borough Council.

Ian Harrison, Trading Standards and licensing manager for Hartlepool Borough Council.

Coun Rob Cook said: “I totally agree with this, I’m really glad they’ve reduced the amount that you can bet at one time on the terminals.

“Obviously people can still bet on the terminals but it is huge progress and I’m glad the Government has done something about it.”

The new statement of licensing principles for gambling also once again contains a ‘no casino’ clause for Hartlepool.

Casinos can only be developed in areas that have been pre-approved by the Gambling Commission nationally and Hartlepool is not one of those areas.

However members said it was important the ruling was included to make a statement in case any regulations change.

Ian Harrison, council trading standards and licensing manager, said: “We are not in the position to have a casino even if we wanted one due to government prior approval being needed.

“However we still want to put that message out there that we do not want a casino in Hartlepool.”

Coun Cook said: “If we do get a change of policy it’s important that we show we do not want a casino in our town and we do not want people to become addicted to gambling.”