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Royal Amusements Gambling Arcade License Rejected by Sheffield City Council

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Sheffield City Council’s licensing committee has denied Royal Amusements the permission to establish a gambling arcade in Fargate in the center of Sheffield. The decision followed a four-hour hearing on November 6.

The opposition to the application was widespread, including objections from City ward Green councillors, the ChangingSheff residents’ association, local churches, and the council’s public health office. Initially, South Yorkshire Police had raised concerns about the location being a hotspot for violent crime but later withdrew their objections after agreeing to additional conditions.

Community Concerns and Objections

Greg Fell, Sheffield’s director of public health, emphasized the risks of problem gambling and related harms. He raised concerns about the proposed arcade’s proximity to a new NHS gambling addiction service and areas frequented by vulnerable populations, including homeless individuals and those with mental health issues.

Coun Douglas Johnson, a City ward councilor and Green Party leader, expressed worries about the negative impact of another gambling establishment in an already pressured area.

We all know what goes on in our ward, we’ve all been down the bottom of Fargate and that’s why we’re setting out our concerns about the likely impact of this and what we think will happen if this gambling centre opens. Other gambling premises have quite frankly blighted the Castlegate area around Haymarket and Fitzalan Square. This area is under a huge amount of pressure and we don’t want to add to that.

Coun Douglas JohnsonCity Ward Councillor and Green Party Leader

Johnson went on to dispute the claim about the lack of residential presence, pointing out the existence and upcoming development of local flats.

Royal Amusements Denied Despite Impressive Track Record

Mohammed Ilyas was there representing Royal Amusements. He argued that moral objections shouldn’t influence licensing decisions. He spoke of the company’s long history of operating gambling arcades without issues and emphasized the training and policies in place to prevent problems, including a Challenge 25 policy and staff trained to address gambling issues.

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