Judge rejects supercasino challenge

Source: Inthenews.co.uk

A legal challenge against the government’s plans to create new casinos has been rejected by the high court.

Mr Justice Langstaff rejected arguments made by the British Casino Association (BCA) that plans to introduce a supercasino in Manchester along with 17 smaller casinos across the UK would unfairly damage existing casinos in Britain.

The BCA, which represents over 90 per cent of the UK’s casino operators, had claimed in the hearing last month the plans would give new casinos permission to install more gambling machines, making them more competitive.

In today’s ruling in London, the judge rejected the BCA’s assessment that its member associations would lose £120 million in profits every year.

Speaking before the ruling on BBC Radio Five Live, Professor Leighton Vaughan Williams of Nottingham Business School’s betting research unit said the BCA’s argument was unlikely to hold water with the judge.

“It was never meant to be a level playing field. The whole idea of having only one casino allowed an unlimited jackpot is very much a product of the all-party scrutiny committee policy of looking at problem gambling,” he explained.

He added the government was seeing the problem “from a bigger perspective”, explaining “the idea is not to have 138 or more casinos with unlimited multi-million pound jackpots on your street corner”.

The House of Lords thwarted the government’s initial attempt to pass the casino proposals into law in March, forcing a ministerial rethink about the proposals.

The Conservatives have criticised the lack of any announcement being made about their fate, saying the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DMCS) was waiting until Gordon Brown becomes prime minister before moving forward on the issue.

“It is now time for the government to indicate just what they intend to do over the casino fiasco,” shadow home secretary David Davis commented.

“We have a right to know whether this has all been a futile exercise or whether it is yet another example of government paralysis while we wait for a new prime minister.”

Sports minister Richard Caborn commented: “I welcome the judgment which dismissed the BCA’s case on all grounds and found that our policy was fairly and properly made.

“We have always put social protection and proper regulation above commercial interests and this judgement supports that approach.

“We will continue to get on with the job of implementing the Gambling Act by September 1st, and putting in place the significant new safeguards for children and other vulnerable people which it contains.”

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