Government to try again with “supercasino” plan

LONDON (Reuters) – Prime Minister Tony Blair said on Wednesday that the government would try and resurrect proposals for a new wave of Las Vegas-style casinos “very shortly”, despite the Lords throwing out the plans in March.

“We hope very shortly to bring forward proposals to make sure the regional casinos are agreed and introduced,” he said.

A government spokesman said there was no firm timetable to reintroduce the plans.

Blair, who is about to stand down as premier, also raised the option of building two so-called supercasinos instead of the original limit of just one.

“Personally I have never seen the reason why we should have Blackpool and Manchester pitted against each other … If the investment is there and able to be done, let’s do both of them,” he told the Commons.

Plans to build a giant supercasino in Manchester and 16 other large casinos were thrown into doubt after they were rejected by the Lords by just three votes in March.

An independent panel’s choice of Manchester to host the supercasino was broadly criticised by politicians and experts and was a major blow for the seaside town of Blackpool which had pinned regeneration hopes on winning the project.

Despite warnings of defeat from fellow politicians before the crucial vote in March, Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell pinned the government’s plans on an all-or-nothing package which had to be approved by both the Commons and the Lords.

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