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Casino licence criteria determined

PUBLISHED: 12:45 11 June 2010 | UPDATED: 18:01 30 June 2010

ANY Las Vegas-style casino licence in Great Yarmouth is likely to be scored against a range of criteria and judged by an expert panel.

Under the plans, applicants hoping to win the casino would be given a mark out of a total of 3,900 for their proposals, with the highest marked being most likely to be awarded the licence.

ANY Las Vegas-style casino licence in Great Yarmouth is likely to be scored against a range of criteria and judged by an expert panel.

Under the plans, applicants hoping to win the casino would be given a mark out of a total of 3,900 for their proposals, with the highest marked being most likely to be awarded the licence.

Deciding the scores in the nine categories would be a specially selected advisory panel made up of eight people - expected to be both from the borough council and beyond.

The proposals, given the nod at a borough council licensing committee meeting last Thursday and up for full approval after feedback in July, were described by the council's legal advisor Chris Skinner as the “best possible system for us.”

They follow on from the council being given the right to grant a large casino premises licence - one of eight nationally- in 2008, and the bidding process will be open to applicants in September.

Mr Skinner said: “We've looked at what other councils have done and we've tried to put our own spin on it. It's as scientific and objective as we can get it, which should help us avoid legal challenges.

“We also think it's a good idea to have a panel that does the initial scoring for the licensing committee, who don't have to slavishly follow it, but if they choose to depart from it will have to have reasons.”

Under the plans, eight of the categories would be marked out of 100. They would then be multiplied by one, two or three according to whether each category was designated a very high, high or normal priority.

These were criteria determined at the end of last year, and among those deemed to be very high priority are regeneration and employment, as well as provisions to protect the vulnerable, while design and location are deemed high priority.

However, for the final category, deliverability, a mark out of 1500 will be given to give it an extra weight of importance in the final mark.

“This is to guard against someone coming in with the best scheme in the world on paper that has no hope at all. It's so we get something that's very good and has a high deliverability.”

Mr Skinner added that in the panel doing the marking, expected to take place next year, there would be experts on topics including finance, tourism and regeneration, and it would likely an expert from a gambling charity would also be involved.

“Some of these people will be officers from the council, but if it's felt that there's not the expertise we would get someone in. This could, for example, possibly happen in terms of finance and assessing business cases.”

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