New curbs on cornershop casinos

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Cornershop casinos are to be banned amid fears that the planned relaxation of gaming laws could lead to cut-throat competition on the high street.

Cornershop casinos are to be banned amid fears that the planned relaxation of gaming laws could lead to cut-throat competition on the high street.

The Government is preparing to give the go-ahead for Las Vegas-style gaming palaces in seaside resorts. But yesterday it announced that the proposed minimum size is to be more than doubled.

The move is aimed at preventing a proliferation of small casinos that are harder to police. It will also help to prevent problem gamblers fuelling their habits on the street corner.

There are also plans to limit fruit-machine jackpots in smaller venues. although huge jackpots will still be up for grabs at the largest casinos.

The Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee has warned that an increase in casinos could lead to "sharp practices" as they chase "smaller pieces of the pie".

Lord McIntosh of Haringey, a Culture minister, said the plans struck a balance between making the pastime more mainstream and protecting children and the vulnerable.

"Our proposals will not affect resort-style casinos - it is just important that they are not on every street corner," he said.

Legislation to overhaul restrictions on opening hours and jackpots was announced by Tessa Jowell, the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, last year. Though widely welcomed at the time, it provoked warnings that it could increase gambling addiction.

The planned Gaming Bill will not feature in the Queen's Speech this autumn, but ministers hope that it will be in the legislative programme announced in 2004.

Comments