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Election of Chair
To appoint a Chair for the meeting.
Councillor Finnegan was elected Chair.
Welcome and Introductions
Those present to introduce themselves and the Chair to outline the procedure for the meeting.
Those present introduced themselves and the Chair outlined the procedure to be followed for the meeting.
Declarations of Interest
To receive from Members, declarations of the existence of any disclosable pecuniary, or non-pecuniary, interests and the nature of those interests in relation to any agenda item. Please see Agenda Notes.
There were no declarations of interest.
For members to consider and determine an application by Merkur Slots UK Limited for a premises licence under section 159 of the Gambling Act 2005 (the Act).
Community Wellbeing Officer’s Report
Additional material had been circulated after the publication of the agenda by both the applicant (Merkur Slots UK Limited) and the interested party (lludo Limited). The applicant circulated a hearing bundle and a supplemental pack. The interested party circulated a hearing bundle.
The Community Wellbeing Officer presented the report inviting members to consider and determine an application made by Merkur Slots UK Limited for a premises licence under section 159 of the Gambling Act 2005 (the Act).
No one present sought clarification on the report of the Community Wellbeing Officer.
Statement of the Applicant (Merkur Slots UK Limited)
Counsel representing the applicant, stated that they had provided an overwhelming amount of evidence supporting the application for a bingo premises licence and that he would go off the assumption that members had had an opportunity to read the skeleton argument and supporting documentation. He said that he would therefore focus on nine brief points in support of the application by his client.
1) Merkur Slots UK Limited (hereafter shortened to Merkur or Merkur Slots) were one of the most experienced and largest gaming providers in the United Kingdom. He stated that Merkur Slots UK were licenced by the Gambling Commission and that their systems were internationally accredited. He stated that in Gloucester, staff, who would work for Merkur Slots, would have had to have received six weeks of training.
2) Counsel representing the applicant stated that Merkur had set out a standard of excellence. He added that this was evidenced by the fact that Merkur had 192 licenced premises, many in challenging locations and that it had received a licence in every place it had applied in. He stated that none of Merkurs licensed premises had ever gone to a review. Counsel representing the applicant, stated that the applicant not only met the requirements outlined by the Gambling Commission, local authorities, and other relevant parties, it exceeded them. He stated that Merkur subject their premises to audits, quizzes their staff on safe gambling policies, send in mystery customers and undertake test purchases to ensure that each of their sites were compliant.
3) Counsel representing the applicant said that there were no objections to the application by the Police, expert advisers, members of the public, the local authority, nor any body or agency concerned with safeguarding. He stated that the only objection came from a rival trader. He stated that the Police had no objections even when Merkur were proposing 24/7 opening hours, which it was no longer doing.
4) Counsel representing Merkur Slots stated that the clientele did not engage in anti-social behaviour for a myriad of reasons. He stated that the product, the calm environment of their premises, the strong training of staff, and the management all worked in tandem to create a pleasant environment, which discouraged anti-social behaviour. He stated that the demographic of Merkur’s Bingo Premises was different to betting shops. He said that there would be no alcohol served on site, and that ... view the full minutes text for item 4.