Resort's 'strong case' for casino - Tuesday 12th of April 2005

The government conceded on Tuesday that there will only be one regional "super casino", instead of the eight previously planned by ministers.

Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell accepted the cut in a deal with Shadow Culture Secretary John Whittingdale.

It saves the government's Gambling Bill before Parliament is dissolved for the general election on 5 May.

The casino location will be decided by an independent panel. Mr Whittingdale said Blackpool had a strong case.

'Complete its passage'

"Regional casinos are an entirely new concept for the UK and there are real fears about the impact they may have on crime and gambling addiction," he said.

"We have therefore told the government that we will accept the establishment of just one regional casino as a prototype, in order to assess its impact.

"Its location should be a leisure resort where the regeneration potential is greatest. The case for locating such a casino in Blackpool is very strong."

The Bill will contain a provision allowing a future government to raise the number of regional casinos to a maximum of eight.

Blackpool Council has previously said that plans to build a hotel casino in the resort had attracted worldwide interest.

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