Casino chief says gambling Bill could now be in peril
Friday 28 January 2005
Fears are growing for the fate of the Government's gambling Bill, with Sun International, one of the overseas companies that had hoped to spend up to £600m on casinos in the UK, believing it is in peril in the House of Lords.
Peter Bacon, the chief executive of Sun International, owner of the Sun City casino in South Africa, said yesterday it was still impossible to predict what changes would be made to the limits on casinos and slot machines to get the Bill passed before a general election.
"There are clearly still a number of areas that are very much in contention," Mr Bacon said. He added that the Bill was the subject of a game of "political poker". "There is lots of disagreement between the parties and there is some way to go before it is resolved."
The company has had to scale back its plans in the UK after the Government's U-turn in December on the number of casinos it would allow. In the face of public opposition, the Government has limited the number of new casinos to eight Las Vegas-style "regional" casinos, eight large and eight small.
Mr Bacon, who was in London on business, had hoped to develop between three and five regional casinos, each holding up to 1,250 slot machines that can pay unlimited prizes. Now it can realistically hope to win only one.
"We are still committed to competing for a licence in the UK," Mr Bacon said, despite the uncertainty on the Bill's future. "We are quite advanced in the planning stage for a site at Sheffield's Don Valley stadium and we will carry on with that development."
He is expecting the Bill to have a rocky road through the House of Lords as the British casino industry lobbies to have the cap on small and large casinos lifted or scrapped. Existing UK operators will also be fighting for support to allow more and higher prize slot machines into their venues.
With a general election expected in May, the House of Lords has only a few weeks to discuss the Bill before Parliament is dissolved.
Peter Byrne, Sun International's executive director in the UK, said: "Who knows what discussions might go on in the days before Parliament is dissolved. Elements of the Bill could well be dropped."
Sun International supports the Government over its plans to cap the number of new casino developments. Mr Bacon said: "South Africa adopted a cautious approach on new casino expansion, which has worked well. It put a limit on the number, then allocated them evenly throughout the provinces, and also banned one operator from owning too many. Instances of problem gambling in South Africa are still very low."
- 1 The BBC has just done more to eradicate ‘terrorism’ than all our wars since 9/11
- 2 Dog thinks owner is drowning in lake, dives in and tries to pull him out
- 4 Chilling drone footage captures Auschwitz ahead of 70th anniversary of liberation
- 5 Phil Neville backtracks on Tomas Rosicky 'I'd smash him' comments from Match of the Day 2
Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
Greece elections: Greek PM Alexis Tsipras takes aim at 'neo-liberal' Europe as country gears up for prolonged austerity battle
Auschwitz liberation 70th anniversary: Woman sent to three Nazi death camps describes surviving gas chamber
Pornhub star Mia Khalifa receives death threats after being ranked the site's top adult actress
Prince Philip set to be knighted by Australia: Celebrate by reading his greatest gaffes
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
French court convicts three over homophobic tweets, in case hailed as a 'significant victory' by LGBT rights campaigners
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks
Islamic history is full of free thinkers - but recent attempts to suppress critical thought are verging on the absurd
Leaked documents show Ukip leaders approve NHS privatisation once it becomes more 'acceptable to the electorate'
iJobs Money & Business
£30000 - £32000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, int...
£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This rapidly expanding business...
£25 - 28k + Bonus: Guru Careers: An In-house / Internal Recruiter is needed to...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Tax Assistant is required to join a leading ...