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Hitting the jackpot in quest to ban illegal fruit machines

Date: 13/03/2008           Category: Community Safety

Fast food premises that have illegal arcade machines on their premises have been targeted during a multi-partnership sting across Medway. Medway Council’s Licensing Team, working in partnership with the Gambling Commission and Kent Police, undertook a two-night operation on March 7 and 8 to inspect illegally sited fruit and slot machines in takeaways and fast food outlets. Following the implementation of the Gambling Act 2005 late last year it is now illegal for gaming machines to be housed in fast food outlets. Letters had been sent to all takeaway owners in Medway informing them of the new legislation and advising them to remove any machines from their property. The eight officers made 125 visits, resulting in 15 illegal machines being disconnected and the owners given seven days to remove them from their property. Warnings were also issued for breaches of licence conditions, including two take-aways selling late-night food without a licence. They were asked to close and instructed to apply for a licence. Follow-up visits will be made to ensure the offending owners are abiding the law Medway Council’s Portfolio Holder for Community Safety and Enforcement Cllr Rehman Chishti said: “There are more than 300,000 problem gamblers in Britain and it is concerning that many of these started gambling as children by playing fruit and slot machines. These slot machines can be played in takeaways when children are away from their parents and this is something we wish to tackle in Medway. “This exercise is an excellent example of effective partnership working together for the good of the community.”