The news that Brent council in London have rejected the proposal for the new supercasino appears to have thrown yet more water on the governments plans to bring a gambling mecca to the new Wembley Stadium (when it eventually gets completed).
Last week councillors looked at the results of a consultation that studied the economic and social impact of incorporating such a large gambling concern into the area. Essentially the findings of the consultation took into account the views of the local community and decided that the presence of the casino had more negative aspects than positive to offer a community and elected not to proceed with its bid.
Essentially the study claimed another casino would potentially increase the prospect of ‘problem gambling’ amongst certain areas of the populace. Notably those on lower incomes or from lower educational backgrounds and some ethnic groups. It also indicated that there could be external factors to consider such as increased traffic congestion in the area, although it conceded that any planned development in the Brent area would create similar problems.
The positive elements of the casino would have been felt most immediately in the job market. A possible two thousand jobs would have been created with over half going to the local community. Another knock on effect would have been increased investment and spending in the borough.
In the end it was concluded that sixty seven percent of the people who responded to the study were in opposition to the proposed plans with only twenty two percent in favour. Many stating that there were concerns that the presence of the casino would bring with it an increase in crime, and the aforementioned issues of problem gambling and traffic congestion.
It’s not been an easy time for the supercasino, there has already been noises of a planned objection from alternate locations. The premise of turning Blackpool into a ‘UK Las Vegas’ has been met with stern disapproval from some quarters within the industry. The Noble Organisation is going to the High Court to threaten the city’s bid for the casino. The organisation’s plans for its own branded gambling establishment were turned down just over a fortnight ago and to approve a government sanctioned alternative would now smack highly of hypocrisy.
This leaves Cardiff, Newcastle, Manchester and Sheffield as proposed sites for the venture but it leaves one wondering that if the capital has turned down the endeavour then why would these other locations with lower population densities and ‘tourist rotation’ be any different. After all one thing the cities have in common is the fact they all have established gambling venues that could suffer as a result.
Of course this is one scenario where nationwide chains involved in the casino industry could inflict their considerable leverage and if the London equation is anything to go by the supercasino may find it harder to make a grab for the silver dollar than they first anticipated.
Recent research by the BBC showed that the number of women addicted to gambling in the UK was on the rise. However the advice charity GamCare said that women made up nine per cent of its clients in the second half of last year, up from just two per cent in 2000.
Where the casino turns up now is anyone’s guess. However there have been reports that work had already begun in Greenwich inside the dome before a licence has actually been granted. The American firm AEG (Anschutz Entertainment Group) acknowledged some work had actually been done simply because it would have been too costly to wait until after December when a decision and a licence would be finalised.