Residents of Greenwich in South East London, have set up a pressure group called South and East London Against the Casino (SELAC) opposing any plans the British government may have to build the countries first supercasino at The O2 arena (the Dome).
The group has also launched a website and an online petition claiming if a supercasino was built at the south London site, crime in the area would increase and the area needs regeneration of other kinds. The group also argue they have not been consulted about whether or not the residents of Greenwich want a supercasino.
"Lawyers, businessmen, politicians and academics have signed our petition and we need more people to join us. We don't need this casino. We need regeneration and the other things planned for The O2 but we don't need this,” said Rachel Mawhood, a founder of SELAC.
A spokeswoman of Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG), owners of The O2 arena, claimed there was no evidence linking casinos with an increase in crime and that a supercasino would bring big economic benefits to the area.
“Thorough probity checks are under-taken by the Gambling Commission to establish the integrity of applicants for operational licences and personal licences before they are issued, to ensure that criminals are not involved in the operation of casinos or be able to benefit from running a casino. Personal licence holders must have the requisite knowledge to ensure that gambling is conducted in a fair and open way and to prevent it from being the source of crime,” the spokeswoman said.
This view was also reiterated by Mark Griffiths, Professor of Gambling Studies at Nottingham Trent University, who says there is no proven link between gambling and crime in an area but vulnerable members of society must be protected from any negative impacts.
A decision on the UK’s first supercasino is due to be made at the end of this month by the Casino Advisory Panel (CAP), a board set up by the government, with The O2 arena and Blackpool the reported front-runners.
Editor, Jackpot.co.uk - 2007-01-10 10:55:15