Caborn defends super-casino panel

Sports Minister Richard Caborn has defended the panel responsible for the contentious decision to recommend Manchester as the location for the UK’s first Las Vegas-style super-casino.

In a Call for Evidence meeting requested by a Select Committee from the House of Lords which provided Blackpool with a glimmer of hope, Richard Caborn maintained that the Casino Advisory Panel (CAP) had overall done a “professional job”. Also present at the meeting was the chairman of CAP, Professor Stephen Crow.

"We looked at the report in detail against the criteria we had laid out. We thought a very professional job had been done. We believe the skill-set of the panel itself was broad enough to bring back a well-thought out, professional report,” insisted Caborn.

The chances of a super-casino u-turn now seem slim as Caborn also told the committee that a debate planned for the end of this month will not separate the super-casino from the 16 remaining smaller casinos.

"While many people have homed in on the one casino, this is about 17 casinos," said Caborn.

"To single one out would be wrong. We believe that is the best way forward. That is why the 17 will be in one order."

However, owing to the growing opposition to the choice of Manchester over Blackpool as the site for the super-casino, the debate in the Commons at the end of this month will now be twice as long as the normal three hours allowed.

Professor Crow also revealed that the panel was persuaded away from Blackpool after it decided that the social impact of a super-casino on the seaside town would be too difficult to gauge since most of the customers would be tourists.

Nonetheless, this is unlikely to provide any consolation to supporters of Blackpool nor will it be likely to cool the frustration and disappointment they feel at being overlooked.

Editor, - 2007-03-14 10:23:24

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