Move to ban all new casinos and betting shops by Tower Hamlets council

Gamblers are spending up to £400 million a year in London’s East End which leads to drug misuse and crime, Tower Hamlets council members were told last night.

A ban on any new betting offices and casinos opening was being called for by protesters who handed a petition into the Town Hall when a delegation addressed the council.

“We are worried about the level of crime gambling creates,” protester Kelly Begum said.

“We urge the council to prevent casinos being established—we’re concerned at the number of betting shops and adult amusement arcades opening up and their impact on children and vulnerable adults.”

An emergency move to ban all future licenses being issued by using planning regulations and commercial leasing arrangements was put forward by Cllr Ohid Ahmed.

“An estimated £400m is spent a year on gambling in Tower Hamlets,” his resolution suggested.

But the authority was warned there must be public consultation first or the Town Hall would be deemed in law to be prejudice, even though a ban was supported by councillors on all sides.

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Tory Group leader Peter Golds called for a cabinet paper to be put out for consultation “to see what the public genuinely think” before a strong policy against gambling joints was established.