Super casino or Super debacle

Peers yesterday rejected a decision to build the UK’s first super-casino in Manchester by just three votes. This means the plans will not be implemented, even though MPs backed the proposal by a majority of 24.

Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell said that, after the defeat, she wanted “to reflect on the outcome” and promised new proposals.

Peers rejected the Gambling Order backing Manchester by 123 votes to 120, while MPs supported it by 274 to 250.

It is thought likely the government will say the verdict of the Commons, (the elected house of Parliament) should rate above that of the Lords.

Manchester was picked earlier this year by an independent panel ahead of the front-runners Blackpool and the former Millennium Dome in London.

Some critics argued that Blackpool was a more suitable venue, with a greater need for a super-casino. Others said it could increase problem gambling in a deprived part of Manchester.

During the Commons debate, Blackpool North and Fleetwood Labour MP Joan Humble said her town had been unfairly “marked down” by the Casino Advisory Panel.

She added: “This was our future. This was the new 21st century Blackpool. If we’re trying to minimise problem gambling then we should celebrate the fact that here we are pleading for a super-casino in a resort. Where else should there be a super-casino but by the seaside in Blackpool?”

The Lords vote means the super-casino plans will have to be re-drafted and that those for eight more ‘large’ casinos and a further eight ‘small’ ones are also thrown out.

Large casinos had been due to be built in Great Yarmouth, Hull, Leeds, Middlesbrough, Milton Keynes, Newham, Solihull, and Southampton.

The venues for small casinos were Bath and North East Somerset, Dumfries and Galloway, East Lindsey, Luton, Scarborough, Swansea, Torbay, and Wolverhampton.

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