Caledonian Road adult gaming centre bid sparks concerns

Caledonian Road

Caledonian Road - Credit: Google

Concerns have been raised over proposals for an adult gaming centre in the Cally.

City Gaming Limited, which also operates Chapel Market’s Palace Amusements, wants to open a 24-hour adult centre in Caledonian Road on the former site of a William Hill bookies - which opponents claim was already a problem for gambling addicts.

Cllrs Paul Convery, Sara Hyde and Una O’Halloran released a joint statement to say: “If this license were to be granted, one of Islington’s most deprived areas will feature a significant cluster of gambling/gaming premises (three within 150 metres of each other). 

"It is logical to conclude the opportunities to gamble will be multiplied and the risk of problem gambling may be significantly increased. 

"This has knock‐on effects for health, particularly mental health, because problem gamblers are more likely to experience adverse financial, social and health impacts to themselves and their families due to increased debts, anxiety and other harms.”

Despite City Gaming proposing a list of conditions including CCTV, no alcohol on site, and ID to be enforced rigorously, many neighbours have opposed the application.

One, writing anonymously, said: “In the past we were aware of several regular customers of the William Hill who clearly had gambling addiction issues as compounded by substance abuse, who were also parents of local school-aged children.

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“These children often were made to loiter outside whilst their parents gambled inside of the William Hill, often for long stretches of time, and we watched in horror as parents spoke rudely and violently to their children who begged them to leave and take them home.

"If we tried to intervene we were sworn at and intimidated.”

They went on: “When William Hill closed the branch in the summer of 2020, we felt extremely hopeful that finally we would be able to live without fear and disruption and that the Caledonian Road would finally be given a chance to improve." 

The council’s own licensing authority has also submitted a representation against the application, citing the lack of planning permission and potential negative impacts from gambling in deprived areas.

City Gaming Ltd could not be reached for comment.