U.K. scraps supercasino plans

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Manchester will no longer be the first location for a supercasino in the United Kingdom. Not because another city was chosen instead, but because the supercasino idea itself has been scrapped by the government.

According to a Bloomberg story, Prime Minster Gordon Brown's government officially vetoed plans to build a Las Vegas-style casino in Manchester. Instead, 16 casinos (eight larger and eight small) will be built in the areas that competed to host the supercasino.

The move was confirmed by Culture Secretary Andy Burnham today, who told MPs that there had been concerns over the negative impact of the supercasino.

While the new Gambling Act made the supercasino legal, Parliament's two chambers had been deadlocked on approving the Manchester casino.

Manchester had beat bids from London and Blackpool to build the supercasino as a way to lure £265 million of investment and 2,700 jobs to the area.

Sir Howard Bernstein, chief executive of the Manchester City Council, told Bloomberg, "A regional casino has been a fundamental part of our regeneration strategy."

However, when Gordon Brown became prime minister last year, he expressed his opposition to the plans. He called for a review of the supercasino decision and wanted to find a better way to regenerate areas.

According to an article in InTheNews.co.uk, Burnham said that there is a big difference in scale in terms of gambling opportunities in a supercasino compared to in one of the smaller casinos.

Today he approved casinos with up to 150 slot machines holding jackpots of up to £4,000 in Leeds, Southampton, Great Yarmouth, Middlesbrough, Solihull, Hull, Milton Keynes and Newham in London.

Smaller casinos were approved for the Bath area, Stranraer, Scarborough, Wolverhampton, Swansea, Luton, Torbay and East Lindsey.

Burnham also claimed that the United Kingdom would have the toughest regulatory regime for gambling in the world. The plan is to force casinos to close their doors for six hours a day, to not allow credit card use and to not offer drink promotions involving free beverages.

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