Residents in Blackpool will have the opportunity to make their views known on proposals to change the existing gambling licence policy.
The planned changes were announced by Blackpool Council on Monday. The recommendations had been approved by the Council’s licensing committee, as part of their commitment to update the licensing policy every three years, and councillors have signed off on a plan to put the draft policy out for public consultation over the next few weeks.
Among the proposed changes to the existing policy are the addition of completely new sections governing the risk assessments of the impact on local areas of any new gambling premises, along with local area profiles and the implementation of new standards for all gambling premises.
The announcement of the proposals follows news earlier this month that there had been a significant drop in the number of gambling venues operating in Blackpool, which has been blamed on the rise of online gambling and other factors, including rising rent prices for retail premises.
As part of the new policy, the Council will have the ability to draw up local area profiles that will enable them to highlight potential challenges to new gambling premises in specific areas, though the Council does not have the power to limit the number of gambling venues it licences, apart from casinos.
Blackpool currently has four casino licences, with additional 6 bingo licences, 7 family entertainment centre licences, 34 betting licences and 18 adult gaming centre licences.
At the conclusion of the public consultation stage, the proposed policy will go back before the licensing committee and then the full Council. If approved, it is believed that the measures could come into effect next year, though it is not yet clear what effect they will have on the town’s struggling gambling industry.
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Andie Hughes is a freelance writer, based in the UK who specialises in sports betting, casino and betting industry news.