Councillors declare it’s a no win for casinos and high stakes gambling machines

Published: 21 December 2018

Licensing councillors have decided to continue their long-standing policy of opposing casinos in the borough of Wandsworth.

And they have confirmed their continued opposition for any more betting shops and high-stakes “one armed bandits” in town centres. 

Councillors took the decision following a fresh round of public consultation earlier this year which canvassed the views of local people. The results showed that an overwhelming majority of local people did not want to see casinos and more betting shops in Wandsworth – and they were hugely opposed to fixed odds betting terminals (FOBTs) which were viewed as particularly unwelcome.

Holding the consultation was a legal requirement. Under the terms of the Gambling Act 2005, local authorities are required to review their policy every three years. The last review was in 2015. 

Wandsworth has always said that the borough's predominantly residential nature makes it the wrong place for casinos and has long opposed the spread of betting shops and the (FOBTs) they often feature.

These high stakes betting machines have always been viewed as particularly dangerous because they allow people to wager - and potentially lose – hundreds of pounds a minute – although the Government has announced plans to drastically reduce the maximum stake allowed per spin.

Licensing chairman Cllr Guy Humphries said: “Our long-standing view is that casinos are not welcome in Wandsworth and that any proliferation of betting shops and their high stakes gambling machines should be resisted.

“It was important that we asked for the public’s views before updating this policy and I’m delighted to say that people in Wadsworth showed strong support for our stance.

“This will make it much harder for any new gambling establishments to open in our borough.”