A FORMER bank could become an amusement arcade if council bosses approve a licence application. 

Lodged by Merkur Casinos, plans relate to the site of the TSB on Duke Street in Dennistoun which controversially closed earlier this year.

The company has around 180 venues across the United Kingdom providing “adult gaming” facilities including bingo and slot machines for gambling.

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While some Dennistounians welcome the move as something ‘different’ to do in the area. However, others have raised concerns about the impact of having access to gambling could have on the community.

One resident said: “What a terrible idea, these places just encourage crime, a study in Plymouth showed that “approximately 4% of juvenile crime was associated with slot machine gambling is evidence that a minority of individuals commit crimes in order to ‘feed such an addiction’.

"It should also be further emphasised that the cases outlined in the Plymouth survey are those that actually reached the stage where police were involved. It is quite possible - and indeed probable - that there are many other instances of crime related to machine use that either does not get reported or that blame is attached elsewhere.”

Another said: “The gambling industry deliberately set up shop in poorer areas to make money out of vulnerable people with little or no regard for the impact addiction has on individuals and their families and friends and the community that we are all part of.”

Labour MSP for Glasgow, Paul Sweeney echoes the concerns.  He said: “The application for yet another bookmakers to replace the last bank in Dennistoun demonstrates everything wrong with Glasgow’s economy.

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"Exploitative betting shops hoover tens of millions of pounds out of the city every year, enriching their owners at the expense of the poorest Glaswegians.

"Instead we should be looking at ways to promote locally-owned businesses that will keep and reinvest their income within the local community. We also need to establish greater control over the ownership of retail units across the city, in a similar style to housing associations, so that they are controlled by the community rather than just being casino chips for multinational real estate speculators.”

We reported late last year on the decision to close the former TSB branch. 

Planning permission for a take-away restaurant at the premises was lodged last month but this was then knocked back by planning chiefs. The council ruled that the proposal would cause an increase in noise and cooking fumes. 

It is not yet clear if the company has lodged planning permission for the unit as of yet. 

The Glasgow Times has approached Merkur Casinos, nobody was available for comment.