The House of Lords last night rejected proposals for 17 new casinos, including the notorious supercasino in Manchester, by a slim majority of 123 to 120. At the same time the House of Commons voted by a majority of 24 to approve the plans.
If the vote had been won, the Government's Gambling Act would have been put into effect in September. Unless the order is reintroduced, the entire package of 8 large casinos, eight smaller casinos and Manchester's Las Vegas-style supercasino will be lost.
Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport Tessa Jowell warned that 7,000 jobs would be at risk.
The Manchester site alone could have created 2,700 direct and indirect jobs and would have seen £265m spent on regenerating a site near the City of Manchester stadium.
Large casino licences were granted to Great Yarmouth, Hull, Newham, Middlesbrough, Solihull, Milton Keynes, Leeds and Southampton.
Smaller casinos would have been seen in Bath, Dumfries and Galloway, East Lindsey, Luton, Scarborough, Swansea, Torbay and Wolverhampton.
The House of Lords rejection was masterminded by the Liberal Democrats and the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, who accused the Government of sleight of hand in mixing the issue of regenerating poor areas with the desires of the gambling industry to expand. They were aided by large numbers of abstaining Conservative and Labour peers.
By Christopher Walton