Government 'promised casinos cut in gambling tax'

American casino operators claim the Government has offered to slash taxes on gaming to encourage them to invest in Britain, it was reported last night.

American casino operators claim the Government has offered to slash taxes on gaming to encourage them to invest in Britain, it was reported last night.

Frank Fahrenkopf, head of the American Gaming Association, said that officials had told him the tax would be cut from 40 per cent to between 15 and 20 per cent.

Speculation that a reduction in tax was on the cards was fuelled by a briefing note sent by Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell to Labour MPs, advising them that the expansion of casinos envisaged in the Bill would be "revenue neutral".

Meanwhile, the government is to head off a damaging row over plans to allow Las Vegas-style casinos in Britain by announcing strict planning rules that will give people living in the district the final say on whether they should be built.

Last night a spokesman for the Department of Culture said reports of plans to build 250 casinos were exaggerated and denied it had made any tax break offer. Any decision on tax was a matter for the Treasury, said a spokesman.

"Our estimates are between 20 and 40 more casinos. One of the main checks is the powers the Bill gives people to have a voice and for local authorities to say no to new casinos," he said.

The Government is expected to publish the planning rules when the Bill returns to the Commons in the next few weeks. Gordon Brown, whose Treasury would receive a windfall from tax from the casinos, is believed to be concerned that people with little cash to spare could find themselves in debt after being hooked on fruit machines or the gaming tables.

Others believe gambling addiction could increase. Some Labour MPs fear revenue from poor punters in the UK could swell the coffers of big American gambling firms but fail to regenerate run-down areas.

MGM, one of the world's biggest casino enterprises, is said to predict that 10 per cent of its profits could come from the UK in future. Lord Levy, Tony Blair's fundraiser, is reported to have met Lloyd Nathan, an executive of MGM Mirage, in the summer, shortly before the proposals to allow super-casinos were published.

There are concerns that British casinos, which have operated in the UK for decades under extremely tight regulations, could find themselves at a competitive disadvantage next to the American operators.

But Tessa Jowell this weekend accused opponents of elitism. "There's a whiff of snobbery in some of the opposition to new casinos, people who think they should remain the preserve of the rich," she said. "Others find them gaudy and in poor taste; others who don't want the big investment that will come from the United States."

Yesterday Ms Jowell's operation of the National Lottery came under fire from John Major, who established the lottery when he was prime minister. On Breakfast with Frost, he accused ministers of using the cash to fund government programmes including health care.

He said Labour had diverted perhaps up to half of the money raised from ticket sales to activities normally funded from general taxation.

But Ms Jowell said: "The Tories have too narrow a definition of a good cause or the public good."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Arts and Entertainment
filmPoldark production team claims innocence of viewers' ab frenzy
Life and Style
Google marks the 81st anniversary of the Loch Ness Monster's most famous photograph
techIt's the 81st anniversary of THAT iconic photograph
News
Katie Hopkins makes a living out of courting controversy
people
News
General Election
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
2015 General Election
May2015

Poll of Polls

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Office Administrator

£14000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Office Administrator is requ...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - Commercial Vehicles - OTE £40,000

£12000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Due to expansion and growth of ...

Ashdown Group: Senior PHP Developer - Sheffield - £50,000

£40000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Senior PHP Developer position with a...

Recruitment Genius: Operations Leader - Plasma Processing

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: An Operations Leader is required to join a lea...

Day In a Page

Revealed: Why Mohammed Emwazi chose the 'safe option' of fighting for Isis, rather than following his friends to al-Shabaab in Somalia

Why Mohammed Emwazi chose Isis

His friends were betrayed and killed by al-Shabaab
'The solution can never be to impassively watch on while desperate people drown'
An open letter to David Cameron: Building fortress Europe has had deadly results

Open letter to David Cameron

Building the walls of fortress Europe has had deadly results
Tory candidates' tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they seem - you don't say!

You don't say!

Tory candidates' election tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they appear
Mubi: Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash

So what is Mubi?

Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash all the time
The impossible job: how to follow Kevin Spacey?

The hardest job in theatre?

How to follow Kevin Spacey
Armenian genocide: To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie

Armenian genocide and the 'good Turks'

To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie
Lou Reed: The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths

'Lou needed care, but what he got was ECT'

The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond
Migrant boat disaster: This human tragedy has been brewing for four years and EU states can't say they were not warned

This human tragedy has been brewing for years

EU states can't say they were not warned
Women's sportswear: From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help

Women's sportswear

From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help
Hillary Clinton's outfits will be as important as her policies in her presidential bid

Clinton's clothes

Like it or not, her outfits will be as important as her policies
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders