Plans unveiled for new casino and slots in prominent shop on Scarborough's high street

Plans to open a casino with slot machines on Scarborough’s high street have been submitted to the borough council.
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Merkur Slots Ltd wants to turn the ground floor of 95-96 Westborough, which is vacant and opposite the Brunswick shopping centre, into what is described as an “adult gaming centre”.

One of the most prominent shops on Scarborough’s high street, between Savers and Specsavers, the unit was previously BrightHouse – which closed in 2019 – and has housed temporary retailers, which left the premises empty in October last year.

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In its application, Merkur Slots Ltd denied that it is a betting shop and wanted to address “misconceptions”. It said it does not offer fixed odd betting terminals and its machines instead offer “low stakes ranging from 10p to a maximum of £2”.

The vacant shop, opposite the Brunswick, is the proposed site for a new casino. (Photo: Steve Bambridge)The vacant shop, opposite the Brunswick, is the proposed site for a new casino. (Photo: Steve Bambridge)
The vacant shop, opposite the Brunswick, is the proposed site for a new casino. (Photo: Steve Bambridge)

A large number of Merkur’s “adult gaming centres” contain bingo machines and tables, which is proposed for Scarborough, it added.

The new gambling centre, if approved, would be open 24 hours a day, which the applicant said “will cause no significant adverse impacts” given that there are no residential properties in the immediate vicinity.

It said late-night customers are predominantly late-shift workers “looking to relax” and large groups are “very rare” due to the offers available.

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The plans have received just one objection so far, from a woman who “strongly opposes” the application.

“It is not the right place for a gambling establishment, right bang in the middle of what is left of our shopping area,” she said.

They also raised concerns over the links between gambling addiction and suicide.

Merkur Casino UK is a subsidiary of the family-run Gauselmann Group, which is based in Germany, and has grown to operate more than 700 venues across Europe in the last 60 years.

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"The proposed adult gaming centre will bring a vacant unit which has not been contributing to the local economy back into use and return activity to the frontage which is a significant benefit to this part of Scarborough town centre,” the applicant said.

“The introduction of the proposed adult gaming centre will also result in additional benefits, including the redecoration of the existing tired frontage, increased footfall, and the creation of 12 new full-time jobs.”

As part of the plans, Merkur also wants to replace the shop’s fascia and hanging sign with its branding.

North Yorkshire Police have not raised any concerns over anti-social behaviour, nor have Highways or Environmental Health objected.

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In September last year, Scarborough Council approved plans for a betting shop on Westborough, next to the bus stop, and in 2021 approved an “adult amusement centre” at 9 Westborough, close to Greggs.

The plans are now out for consultation and can be viewed here.

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