Councillor slams Bournemouth Council arcade ownership


A Bournemouth Councillor has questioned whether it is right for the council to make money from amusement arcades.

Bournemouth Council owns the Pier Approach arcade which has a profit of £459,000 a year.

Councillor Roger White asked the most recent council meeting: “Should we be in effect encouraging gambling? I accept there will be residents and visitors who wish to use these machines. But is it a business that a council should be running?”

The council also rents out Happyland Amusements, just west of the Pier, generating another £19,000 a year.

Head of tourism Cllr Rod Cooper, said that the profits at the Pier Amusement have risen by 50 per cent in two years thanks to “good management”.

He said it provides a “considerable income” which underwrites many seafront services like beach cleaning. “We have tried to make it family-friendly by increasing the number of 2p pushing machines,” explained Cllr Cooper.

He added: “I am not against people having a flutter on the Derby or using our arcades.Gambling is much more of a problem online or in betting shops than in amusement arcades.”

Cllr Cooper said that high-earning machines linked to dog racing were removed in 2009 and added that the council also makes a voluntary donation to a responsible gambling trust.

Comments (4)

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The Gambling Commission should reads these types of comments and stop blaming the traditional Amusement Arcades for any problem gambling, and look deeper into the control of hard gambling in betting Shops,
Betting shops should only be allowed to do what they were designed for, taking bets on sporting events and leave coin operated gaming to the pub’s and let them make a decent living. There are more betting shop operators breaking the gaming laws than there are operators doing just that.

Freddy Bailey

Freddy Bailey
20/06/2012, 12:09

I see the pier as a family amusement venue and not gaming (in the gambling sense). If they have any qualms about gambling per se then it’s easy, change any of the slot machines to the lower stake and low prize games suitable for under 18′s (I doubt that they have many, or any over 18′s machines anyway).

It’s a family environment and earns valuable income for the council which they spend on local amenities. It’s also a tourist destination bringing visitors to the area and keeping them there so that they can also spend money in nearby businesses.

Seaside arcades are part of our culture in this country. They cater to families and children, not businessmen with wedges of cash to gamble away in seconds on the spin of a roulette wheel or the roll of a dice. Kids can play 2p pushers and crane grabbers without becoming life long victims of gambling addiction, I know I didn’t.

If it were a Casino, LBO or AGC I could understand the concern, but it is not. Would the councillor object to a council owned leisure centre that happened to have video games, kiddie rides and perhaps a fruit machine in the bar? I doubt it.

Matt Bland
20/06/2012, 13:38

The only problem with the 2p pushing machines is that the Operators tend to fix the machines in their favour by moving the prizes further back and bunching up the coins when players are not in sight !
This practice should be stopped…it.s unfair

07/11/2012, 16:09

Its an amusement arcade? Its a different place compared to the, high prize gambling addict machines are in most town centres,betting shops etc.

Shane Laythm
29/05/2017, 19:58

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