Councils oppose cap on supercasinos

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The Independent Online

Local authorities have joined overseas gaming operators to oppose the Government's plans to limit the initial number of supercasinos allowed in the UK, saying it will restrict their ability to decide what is best for their own communities.

Local authorities have joined overseas gaming operators to oppose the Government's plans to limit the initial number of supercasinos allowed in the UK, saying it will restrict their ability to decide what is best for their own communities.

The Local Government Association (LGA) has told the Government it has serious concerns about a national cap. Tessa Jowell, the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, introduced a limit of eight developments to ward off a political rebellion on the issue. Dame Sally Powell, chairman of the LGA's Safer Communities Board, said: "The LGA believes that local authorities should be given as much discretion as possible whether they think a casino development is good for their area or not."

The casino industry, which was thrown into confusion by the Government climbdown, is expecting ministers to come forward next week with proposals on how the cap will be implemented and who will decide where the eight supercasinos are built.

MGM Mirage, the US casino group that had planned to invest up to £1bn in Britain in as many as seven sites, said it was still committed to the UK, despite the cap. Lloyd Nathan, MGM's head in the UK, said the company was ploughing on with its developments while it awaited news from the Government.

Overseas gaming operators have already announced at least 20 development plans; the scramble is now on to win one of the eight chosen sites. But local authorities have been given the right to refuse a development in their area.

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