Empty Wisbech shop earmarked for slots and bingo

Former Hughes shop wisbech

The company wanting to turn the former electrical store to a gaming centre in Wisbech says it will have rejuvenate the area. - Credit: Archant

A new town centre gaming centre – with bingo and slots available until the early hours – could open in Wisbech.  

Cashino Gaming, through its trading arm Merkur Slots, wants to take over the empty shop formerly occupied by Hughes Electrical.  

The company currently operates a gaming centre at 5 Market Place – the application does not say if this will close.  

The adult gaming centre (AGC) will “not attract anti-social behaviour or noise issues” says the company in its application to Fenland District Council.  

“A large number of Cashino’s AGCs contain bingo machines and tablets – this is what is being proposed at 48-49, Market Place, Wisbech,” says the company.  

Cashino insists its outlets are not betting shops since fixed odds betting terminals are not on offer.  

Instead, they say, their machines offer “low stakes of between 10p and £2 - the average stake from customers is 30-40p". 

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The centre will offer complimentary tea and coffee and an AGC “is where people go to spend their spare change, have a game of bingo and enjoy their favourite pastime (these machines have been around for many years)” says the company.  

“The customer base during the late evening and into the early hours is predominantly the local entertainment workforce and shift workers will like to relax after their busy shifts.  

“Cashino have never had a licence revoked or reviewed and incidents are extremely rare”. 

An earlier bid to convert the first and second floors to flats was rejected by Fenland planners.  

Merkur Slots says the new shop will provide between 6-12 jobs. 

They say in their planning application that the empty shop had been difficult to let and despite extensive promotion there had been little interest.  

“Despite a thorough marketing campaign there has been a significantly low interest from retail applications due to its unsuitability and the costs involved in bringing the property back into economic use,” it told the council.  

They claim their proposals “will protect and enhance the vitality and vibrancy of this part of Wisbech Town Centre.  

“It could also trigger inward investment within this particular area of Market Place and increase the attractiveness of nearby vacant units to potential occupiers”.