Green light for 16 new large casinos

A Government review of new casino laws will recommend granting licences for 16 new large casinos, according to press reports.

The new casinos will be larger than anything currently allowed. However, plans for a massive super-casino are not expected to go ahead.

Last year the House of Lords threw out the orders which licensed the casinos. Gordon Brown then announced a review when he moved into number 10.

Press reports say the review will conclude that the casinos should be allowed after the 16 local authorities whose licence bids had been successful confirmed that they wished to continue. A statement is expected from the Culture Secretary in the next few weeks.

Critics of gambling point to research showing that it disproportionately affects the poor, can lead to serious addiction, and has historically been linked to crime.

The Christian Institute’s Mike Judge said: “Research shows that gambling exploits those on the lowest wages. For a Labour government to fill the pockets of big business at the expense of the poor is appalling.

“I’m sure there are better ways of regenerating communities than encouraging people to waste their money in slot machines. To place these casinos in deprived areas is the height of cruelty.”

Dr Emanuel Moran, specialist adviser on pathological gambling for the Royal College of Psychiatrists said: “This decision is totally reckless. It is shamefully irresponsible. Who exactly wants these casinos?

“The magnitude of these casinos is of an order we haven’t seen before. There are different types of fruit machines offering higher prizes.

“I am seriously afraid we are going to see an increase in problems with families, children, poverty, crime and suicide, which are all linked to gambling.”

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