PLANS for a 24-hour adult gaming, amusement and bingo centre at a former bookmakers are taking shape after councillors agreed to issue a licence for the premises.

Merkur Slots’ application for a bingo premises licence at the former Ladbrokes in Deane Road was approved by Bolton Council.

But one local resident and business owner wrote to the council opposing the application.

Ilyas Raja, who lives and works in Deane Road, argued that gambling was “indirectly” linked to crime which he said had become an issue in the area recently.

He said: “Over the last few years, there has been an increase in crime and dodgy characters hanging around the area especially in the back street of Deane Road.

“My parents’ entrance to the flat in Deane Road is from the backstreet and many times there have been instances where crime has been witnessed first hand by me and family members, cars being scratched, things getting robbed, drug-related dealings, people being harmed.

"I believe that having a gambling outlet in the area is something that attracts trouble as well as the issue of extra parking problems for businesses and retailers.”

Representing Cashino Gaming Ltd, Richard Bradley said there was no evidence of crime or disorder in the area. The company, which will trade in Deane Road as Merkur Slots, has 163 operations across the country.

Mr Bradley told a licensing sub-committee meeting that none of the company’s premises had received any licence review applications.

He said: “It’s important to consider the model and the customer profile because a bingo premises is considered a lower-stake premises than a betting premises.”

The proposed gambling establishment would be open for 24 hours a day, seven days a week and employ five full-time members of staff, according to a planning statement. But Mr Bradley said that bingo can only operate until midnight, according to legislation.

As well as bingo, there would also be other gambling machines available to use at the premises. The new venue also promises to offer complimentary coffee, tea, soft drinks and snacks, including re-heated finger food and dry snacks.

Cllr Cliff Morris, who chaired the town hall meeting yesterday, told the company’s representatives that the licensing sub-committee agreed to grant the bingo premise licence.

A planning application relating to the site, which was submitted by British bingo, arcade gaming and gambling company Praesepe, is still awaiting approval.