Plastic glasses only at Stratford supercasino after assaults
- Credit: Archant
Drunken attacks have led to a glass ban at Aspers Casino in Westfield Stratford City.
Plastic cups must be used throughout the venue, except in the VIP and restaurant areas, following the most recent review of the venue’s licence – the fourth since it opened as the UK’s first supercasino less than three years ago.
In July, three serious assaults were committed in the space of just over 24 hours, leading police to demand the council reconsider its licensing terms.
These recent incidents include two glassings, one of which resulted in an inch long cut to the victim’s head which required gluing, and another where the glass used to commit the crime was thrown away by casino staff, leading to the loss of vital evidence.
Victims have been “too drunk” to give statements on successive occasions, according to a police report prepared ahead of this morning’s review. Casino staff and police officers have born the brunt of tanked-up gamblers on several occasions – including one staff member who suffered a dislocated shoulder after being attacked by a customer over a bet.
Speaking at the council’s licensing sub-committee, James Rankin, solicitor for the Metropolitan Police, pointed to similarities between the July glassing incidents and said there were concerns that it was “only a matter of time” before an assault escalated.
In a written statement, Pc Sanjit Padda said the casino was “by far the busiest venue in the borough and appears to be generating more crimes than other venues”.
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Speaking at the review, Stephen Walsh, solicitor for Aspers, said the casino is the largest in the country and serves 30,000 customers a week.
“Aspers does take extremely seriously its responsibility, not only for responsible gambling but also crime and disorder on the premises,” he added, and pledged to work more closely with the police.
The council sub-committee agreed to impose a series of new conditions which were drawn up by the police in conjunction with Aspers. These include the employment of a team of “welfare officers” who will interact with customers to gauge sobriety, the introduction of improved security checks prior to entry, the addition of more CCTV cameras to address blindspots, and monthly meetings with police.
Cllr Ian Corbett, chairman of Newham’s licensing sub-committee, said: “We are committed to ensuring that all premises that are licensed in the borough provide a safe environment for residents and visitors to the area and that they are operated by management teams that are responsible and take the appropriate action to protect their patrons. The committee has heard evidence from both the police and Aspers and has decided to impose extra conditions to the Aspers licence to ensure that it remains a high quality and safe establishment for all.”
The opening of Aspers Casino in December 2011 drew controversy and criticism after Newham Council agreed to license the 24-hour, seven days a week venue in return for £1m a year.