Glasgow's casino gamble set to fail - Tuesday 12th of April 2005

MULTI-million-pound gambling developments planned for Glasgow are on the brink of collapse after the announcement that the government will only allow one Las Vegas-style super-casino in the UK.

Schemes for major regeneration schemes at Ibrox, the SECC and Glasgow Harbour look likely to fall through after the government bowed to opposition to large-scale gambling developments in an attempt to ensure that its Gambling Bill is passed.

Though the recipient of the single licence has not been announced yet, Blackpool has been named as the most likely candidate.

The announcement means that Rangers Football Club???s proposed ??120 million casino complex at its Ibrox stadium - which would include a hotel and luxury flats, and could create 2,000 jobs - will have to be abandoned. The SECC???s ??350 million plan for a 1,500-home riverside community, which would have been partly funded by a casino, also faces the axe.

Dr Lesley Sawers, chief executive of Glasgow Chamber of Commerce, said the news will not stop the city embracing casinos. "It???s disappointing news, but we have to wait and see the contents of the bill.

"We???ve got to continue to lobby for this because I think it will come back in the next session of parliament. Glasgow is moving in this direction in terms of tourism, and all this does is push out the time- scale."

However, Steven Purcell, a local councillor, welcomed the announcement.

He said: "I think it???s a sensible move. Let???s pilot the idea elsewhere first, and look at the effects, before we hang our hats on the idea, especially in terms of how they pay and treat their staff."

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