Brown still against super-casinos

Prime Minister Gordon Brown has repeated his opposal to the plan to build super-casinos in the UK when quizzed at his monthly press conference.

"As far as two large supercasinos are concerned, I've said I feel there are better ways of regenerating those areas and that's what we're looking at at the moment,” said Brown, referring to the areas of Manchester and Blackpool.

"Hazel Blears, the Secretary of State for Local Government is co-ordinating the work about what we can actually do both to help Manchester and that regeneration area and to help Blackpool, which I accept has specific challenges it has to meet in the near future."

Nevertheless, businessmen and politicians in Manchester (the location originally chosen for the first super-casino) are up in arms that the plans have been put on hold and almost torn up.

At the Manchester Evening News (MEN) Business Forum, the regeneration needs of the city were discussed amongst leading businessmen in the area. Also attending was chief executive of Manchester City council, Sir Howard Bernstein.

Sir Howard was asked by MEN editor Chris Barry how big a setback it would be for the city if plans for the super-casino were scrapped for good.

Sir Howard said: "The Prime Minister stated that there needed to be a period of reflection which would involve looking at the findings of a gambling report, which was out last month, as well as a review to identify what regeneration role the casino will play.

"Well I certainly do not know of another alternative that will create 3,500 jobs, receive £250m of investment and get two million visitors, unless we have missed it."

Ken Knott, chief executive of the Manchester-based property developers Ask Developments, echoed the sentiments of Sir Howard and called for a re-think on the way casinos are perceived.

"We have been heavily involved in the supercasino, and I can't recall any opposition from the local community,” said Mr Knott.

"What we need to do is get over the perception that casinos are evil.”

Editor, - 2007-10-09 11:40:18

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