PM may give casinos green light

PUBLISHED: 08:59 24 January 2008 | UPDATED: 10:19 03 July 2010

HINTS that prime minister Gordon Brown is about to agree a new wave of regional casinos was welcomed in Great Yarmouth yesterday, where developers are primed to roll for the jackpot.

HINTS that prime minister Gordon Brown is about to agree a new wave of regional casinos was welcomed in Great Yarmouth yesterday, where developers are primed to roll for the jackpot.

One of Mr Brown's first acts as the new prime minister was to shelve plans for Britain's first Las Vegas-style super casino and order a review of proposals for 16 other gambling palaces - including in Yarmouth.

But reports emerged yesterday that Mr Brown was now poised to give the green light to eight large and eight medium-size casinos.

Yarmouth's Pleasure Beach boss Albert Jones said it would mean he could finally push forward with bold plans for a £35m casino and leisure complex.

He said: “We have been waiting since the announcement last year. We went public with our plans for The Edge in December, and if Gordon Brown does now give the green light it means we can work with the local council and go for full planning permission.”

The development, planned for a strip of wasteland on South Denes, between the Pleasure Beach and the outer harbour site, would create about 1,000 jobs.

But he is expected to face hot competition for the large casino licence from developers planning multi-million-pound schemes for other sites in the resort including a large strip of council-owned land on the Golden Mile.

Barry Coleman, leader of Yarmouth Borough Council, said the town had been in limbo since the review was ordered.

“It is very important that a decision is made soon. We have been in limbo for nine months and virtually every month since we have been told a decision is imminent,” he said.

“From our point of view it is important because we have several development sites which we want to progress. Marine Parade is a potential site for a casino but there are others. We have had some very interesting proposals, not just for casinos but other things.

“It is not a casino per se we are in favour of, but the general planning gain.”

Last night, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport said a decision was expected “within weeks” but that nothing would being said until then.

Large casinos - 15,000sq ft in size and offering 150 machines with £4,000 jackpots - are planned for Yarmouth, Leeds, Hull, Middlesbrough, Solihull, Southampton, Milton Keynes and Newham in East London.

Smaller casinos - of 7,500 sq ft, with 80 machines offering £4,000 prizes - are planned for Skegness, Bath, Stranraer, Luton, Scarborough, Swansea, Torbay and Wolverhampton.

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