Minister defends casino panel


Culture minister Richard Caborn has defended the independent panel which controversially picked Manchester as the site of the UK’s only super-casino.

Mr Caborn said the Casino Advisory Panel had done a “professional job” in choosing the super-casino site and 16 other sites for smaller casinos.

The casino licences will be debated by MPs and Lords in the next few weeks.

More than 100 MPs had called for an assessment of the panel’s report, particularly as Blackpool lost out.

Mr Caborn said: “Those who the decisions were in favour of, the 17, would say it was very fair, transparent and objective [process].

“Those who didn’t win think it is the worse thing that’s ever happened.

“The reality of life is that when you set up a panel you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t.”

He said the 117-page report showed that the panel “haven’t done a bad job at all”.

Mr Caborn, appearing before a Lords select committee, said: “We looked at the report in detail against the criteria we had laid.

“We thought a very professional job had been done.

“We believe the skill-set of the panel itself was broad enough to bring back a well-thought out, professional report.”

The five-person panel was chaired by Prof Stephen Crow.


He said the Commons debate – twice as long as usual at three hours – would allow for those MPs with concerns to air them.

He also said he was “fairly confident” that the House would agree that the report was “robust”.

The panel also recommended that large casinos should be licensed at Great Yarmouth, Kingston-upon-Hull, Leeds, Middlesbrough, Milton Keynes, Newham, Solihull and Southampton.

And it said that small casinos should be sited at Bath and North East Somerset, Dumfries and Galloway, East Lindsey, Luton, Scarborough, Swansea, Torbay and Wolverhampton.

These locations will also be debated by both Houses of Parliament.

From Casinos in Britain /

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