Casino ruling due today

A ruling is due from the High Court later today which could add yet more obstacles to the government’s much-blighted casino plans.

The British Casino Association (BCA) has challenged the government’s plans for the 17 new casinos across the UK, including a super-casino in Manchester, claiming they will have a competitively unfair advantage over existing casinos. The challenge has been made by four members of the BCA – Gala Casinos, Grosvenor Casinos, London Clubs International and Stanley Casinos – which between them operate over 90 per cent of the casinos in Britain.

Their argument centres on their fact that the new casinos will be able to host more slot machines and offering higher jackpots. They argue that the current plans would condemn their casinos to "second-class status" and as a result, would see a loss of approximately £120 million in profits a year.

The BCA has criticised the culture secretary, Tessa Jowell, and the way she has handled the matter declaring that she has not upheld her promise of ensuring "fair competition between old and new (casinos)".

However, lawyers for Ms Jowell claim that the challenge is groundless and was made "without merit and should be dismissed".

Meanwhile, it has emerged that if the challenge made by the BCA was to be overcome, government ministers will not push forward the plans until Gordon Brown becomes prime minister later this month. Brown is widely-accepted as not being the biggest fan of the new casino proposals but will not stand in their way should they receive the go-ahead.

However, the fact that Brown may start a cabinet reshuffle as one of his first jobs as the new prime minister, leaving the major backer of the casino proposals and culture secretary, Tessa Jowell, out of the job, could well lead to even more delays to the plans.

UPDATE:

The British Casino Association (BCA) has lost its challenge against the government’s casino plans. Mr Justice Langstaff ruled at London’s High Court this morning that the legal challenge was unfounded in all aspects.

Editor, Jackpot.co.uk - 2007-06-11 11:06:03




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