More delays on casino licence

Money, manpower and market appetite are delaying the effort to create a draft application pack for contenders vying for a large casino licence in Great Yarmouth.

Money, manpower and market appetite are delaying the effort to create a draft application pack for contenders vying for a large casino licence in Great Yarmouth.

But officials say their main concern is to get it right and that, compared with the other 16 councils having to deal with the unwieldy process for the first time, the concept is still on track.

Linda Mockford, service manager for licensing and elections at Yarmouth Borough Council, said the authority had hoped to go out to consultation on the draft pack in the new year but that was now unlikely to happen until the spring.

She said time and resources were an issue, with consultants likely to fill the skills gap needed to deal with a lengthy process that was new to all the councils.

This involved wading through the implications of granting eight small and eight large licences each to a single operator and weighing up which would bring the best benefit to their communities.

Ms Mockford said Yarmouth council was clear on its criteria but needed to come up with a way to score the applications in terms of employment and regeneration.

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She added that officials were keeping a close eye on other authorities, such as the London borough of Newham, which was further ahead and where consultants had taken some months to make progress.

In September, Pleasure Beach boss Albert Jones - who wants to build a �35m casino and leisure complex next to the outer harbour called The Edge - said he was frustrated by delays. The other operator who has so far gone public with his scheme is Patrick Duffy, who plans one of similar value to Mr Jones around his existing Palace Casino.