Fears over super casino act legacy

Gaming machines and (below) Coun Paul Maynard.
Gaming machines and (below) Coun Paul Maynard.
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A RESORT MP has backed calls to stop the rise of high stakes gambling machines in betting shops.

Since the passing of the Gambling Act 2005 bookmakers have been allowed to install up to four of the machines, which can allow punters to risk up to £100 at a time on games such as poker or blackjack, in their premises.

Coun Paul Maynard

Coun Paul Maynard

It is estimated the machines can swallow up to £18,000 an hour – with betting chains making multi-million pound profits from them as a consequence.

Now Labour MP David Blunkett, who was home secretary when the law was passed, says his party made a mistake in relaxing the laws on gambling.

The Tory MP for Blackpool North and Cleveleys, Paul Maynard, said powers recently given to local councils would allow them to tackle the issue of problem gambling across the country.

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He added: “Sometimes laws have unintended consequences, and I’m glad Labour recognise how the act they passed has had some negatives.

“It provided an incentive to betting shops to expand their network by allowing gaming machines in each branch, irrespective of floor area.

“We’ve tackled that by giving councils new powers to refuse new applications if a high street has too many betting shops.

“I hope local councils do consider whether any local area has sufficient betting shops and the Government is now looking at what the practical consequences of the limit of four machines has been.”

The 2005 act was central to plans to build a brand new regional super casino bringing with it a Las Vegas style hotel, jobs, conference facilities and an entertainment mecca.

Manchester was controversially awarded the sole rights for a casino ahead of a bid from Blackpool, which triggered a campaign by The Gazette to overturn the decision.

The plans were scrapped in 2008 after Gordon Brown became Prime Minister.

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