Manchester has hit the jackpot. It has beaten off a string of other cities to win the right to host Britain’s first “supercasino.” Although the government insists that Las Vegas won’t be winging its way up north, the decision will mean mega bucks for the owners of the site located next to the City of Manchester Stadium. The 400 million euro complex will also include an indoor water park and hotels leading to the creation of some 15,000 jobs in one of the most deprived parts of the country.
Although the decision is still to be ratified by parliament, Manchester defeated the two favourites – Blackpool and the Millennium Dome – when it was selected by an independent commission for its potential social impact on and regeneration of the area.
With gambling tipped to become Britain’s biggest boom industry, the prime minister had wanted to create 40 “supercasinos” across the country. But his grand plans to let people cash in their chips or whittle away their winnings were stripped down by anti-gambling charities and the opposition.
Alongside Manchester, there will be eight large- sized casinos with 150 gambling or slot machines. There will also be eight small casinos with licences for 80 machines each – all of which has got Britain’s existing casinos up in arms as they feel the new buildings will eat into their profits.
Ahead of today’s announcement, the British Medical Association warned that more children and women could become hooked as betting laws are relaxed. But the government says any further casinos will have to be approved by parliament and will not be considered until there has been a “proper evaluation” of their social and economic effects.