Controversial bookies Paddy Power granted Goodmayes gambling licence

Paddy Power was accused of encouraging a gambler to keep betting until he lost his home, jobs and fa

Paddy Power was accused of encouraging a gambler to keep betting until he lost his home, jobs and family in a recent Gambling Commission report. Picture: PA/Michael Stephens - Credit: PA Archive/Press Association Images

Despite residents’ criticism that a betting company “encouraged a gambler until he lost his home, jobs and family”, the bookmakers was awarded a new gambling licence today.

Paddy Power will open premises in Goodmayes Road, Goodmayes, and replace the existing Fairbet shop after an agreement between the two companies.

Most of the discussion at a Redbridge Council licencing hearing centred around the Gambling Commission’s recent report.

It said senior staff at Paddy Power encouraged a man who had lost five jobs, his home and access to his children to keep gambling.

Abdul Rahman and Abu Qawser, of the group Action Against Betting Shops in Goodmayes, accused the company of “preying on the most vulnerable in society”.

They repeatedly referenced the Gambling Commission’s report, which also criticised Paddy Power for failing to perform sufficient checks against money laundering.

Mr Qawser also made reference to fixed odds betting terminals, known as the “crack cocaine of gambling”.

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The pair presented a petition of more than 150 residents who are against the bookies.

There are 59 licensed gambling shops in Redbridge, eight in the Goodmayes area and a further 18 in Ilford town centre.

Cllr Roy Emmett said he was sympathetic to the group’s views but explained the committee could not make a decision “based on a moral argument”.

As long as bookmakers prove they will prevent the shop from being a source of crime, ensure gambling is conducted in an open manner and prevent children and vulnerable people from being harmed by betting, they are entitled to a licence.

Police did not submit a representation against the premises.

Paddy Power’s lawyer Gerald Gouriet QC tackled the Gambling Commission’s report.

“The incident which has been referred to in 2014 was one incident out of 330 shops over a ten year period.

“We employ humans and sometimes humans make mistakes. It was dealt with in conjunction with the Gambling Commission and that member of staff was fired.”

Narinder Dhanjal, from the Irish bookmakers, explained the company has created a computer system, based in Dublin, which monitors irresponsible gambling and also checks for money laundering.