Your views on Blackpool South MP Scott Benton's plans to revive Blackpool super casino bid

Plans to revive efforts to bring a super casino back to Blackpool has divided opinion, with residents and readers outlining what they think would be the pros and cons.

Friday, 16th July 2021, 4:55 am

Last week, MP for Blackpool South Scott Benton asked culture secretary John Whittingdale if he would commit to reviewing a case for a regional, or "super casino" in the resort.

He said: "The benefits speak for themselves. We could be looking at thousands more jobs for local people, a huge boost to the economy, and hundreds of millions of pounds being spent locally, not just in the casino but in existing businesses as well."

Blackpool was competing with a number of centres across Britain to be chosen as the site for a super casino, back in 2006.

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Blackpool South MP Scott Benton wants to see a super casino built in Blackpool.
Blackpool South MP Scott Benton wants to see a super casino built in Blackpool.

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But political leaders in Blackpool reacted with dismay to the announcement in January 2007, that Manchester had been chosen to host Britain's first super casino instead.

Mr Benton hopes to put the plans back on the table, but the proposal garnered mixed opinions from resort residents.

Blackpool councillor Tony Williams said although he was in favour of a new super casino bid, it would need to come with some conditions.

It needs to be "a lot more than just roulette wheels and card tables," Coun Williams said.

"It needs to be a full blown entertainment complex that can cater for all ages and include accommodation, retail, leisure and a flexible event facility."

Coun Williams also outlined his concerns about the "perils of addiction and debt," which ought to be mitigated by ensuring that a potential super casino provided more than gambling opportunities.

Mr Benton received support for the super casino bid on his own Facebook page, as constituents shared their views.

Peter Rogers said: "Maybe this is what Blackpool needs. It will bring major investment and with the right attitude from the council could actually help with the deprivation in the town. The deprivation is a major factor is many of the issues the town faces."

Paul Webster added: "Yes, [that’s] exactly what Blackpool needs. Jobs jobs jobs. Last time Blackpool was in the running to win the super casino bid the airport was going to play a major part of the plans. They had big plans for the airport if the bid was won, the catchment area was all of Europe."

However, responses to the plans received by the Gazette directly outlined reservations, particularly in relation to the levels of deprivation in the resort - and the potential for gambling harm a super casino could bring.

Ric Dumbleton said: "The introduction of a super casino to Blackpool would be a disaster for the town. It may bring some jobs however this would be offset by the misery of ruined souls.

"As with gambling as a whole the providers are the only winners. As someone with a degree of contact with some of our more unfortunate citizens I am personally aware of the dangers which tempt not only those at the lower end of the scale - it can easily drag down anyone whatever their status.

"For the wider benefit of our population we should consign this idea to the nearest bin."

Steven Bate added: "The Vegas-style casino was never a viable option for Blackpool, or anywhere in the UK. It is even less viable nowadays. Until Boris Johnson can offer the following conditions, Scott Benton MP should not receive any more free publicity:

"The Blackpool super casino would only pay the same tax on profits, as those in Vegas.

"Gordon Brown said it must be 50 per cent, the same as on lottery tickets.

"The Blackpool super casino must be exclusive in the UK, in offering slot machines that could potentially offer a £1,000,000 prize win.

"The Blackpool super casino must be able to offer unlimited inducements in the form of free or almost free food, drink, accomodation, entertainment, transport and parking.

"After Boris has agreed, ask Blackpool business people if they still want it in Blackpool.

"Years of adverts for online and bookmaker casino slot machines, reduces the need to travel to get that buzz.

"Without clever marketing inducements and a pledge of low tax, investors will not be interested. Then we should discuss the extra social costs of increased gambling addiction.

"The Blackpool branch of Gamblers Anonymous has always been the most busy in the UK."

And another reader's letter said: "I do not think a casino in this area would be good for many. It is not the those sadly addicted to gambling who would suffer, it’s their families."