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Is it right for Bournemouth council to gain from amusement arcades?
A COUNCILLOR questioned whether it was right for Bournemouth to make half a million pounds a year from gambling and arcade machines.
Roger West questioned the council’s ownership of the amusement arcade by Pier Approach, which brings in £459,000 a year.
He asked Tuesday’s full council meeting: “Should we be in effect encouraging gambling?
“I personally dislike any form of gambling as the social impact can be enormous for those residents and visitors who become addicted.
“For some it is a very slippery slope.
“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, pictured inset, 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.