Local people are being encouraged to give their views on how betting offices, casinos, bingo halls, fruit machines and amusement arcades should be licensed in the future.
Under the Gambling Act 2005, the responsibility for licensing these premises will transfer from the Magistrates Courts to Thanet Council in 2007. Before this can happen, Thanet Council needs to prepare a policy document, setting out how the Council will make decisions under the new Act. The document will also explain how the Council will promote the three objectives of the Act, which are to prevent crime and disorder, ensuring that gambling is conducted in a fair and open way and protecting children and vulnerable people from harm.
Thanet Council has drawn up its draft policy document and is now asking local people and businesses who may be affected to give their views.
Cllr. John Kirby, Cabinet Member for Development Services, said: “This document will set out how Thanet Council will licence places like casinos, bingo halls, fruit machines and amusement arcades in the future, so it’s important to get local residents’ and businesses’ views on this. Thanet is certainly unique in Kent, in that we have already had casinos here for the past 30 years. Therefore, whereas the debate in many other parts of the country is around the introduction of casinos, here we can focus on the issues that the Gambling Act sets out to address, such as ensuring that there is adequate protection in place for children and vulnerable people.”
The public consultation runs until 31 August 2006 and the document can be found on the Council’s website at www.thanet.gov.uk/licensing