Potential revolt over Government's new casino laws builds at Parliament

08 February 2007
Potential revolt over Government's new casino laws builds at Parliament

Growing signs of a Parliamentary revolt, led by the Conservatives, are threatening to jeopardise the Government's casino plans.

The Tories have written to Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell, to express their concern over a loophole contained in the Gambling Act 2005, which could allow up to 14,000 high-value slot machines to be installed in existing casinos across the country, according to The Times today.

Conservatives are threatening to oppose the issue when it is debated in Parliament in the next few weeks after existing casino operators, such as Rank, highlighted the discrepancy, which raise concerns the new casino regulations are in breach of European competition rules.

They are angry that, under the new licenses, the 17 new casino operators will be able to install 10 times more slot machines than existing gambling venues and are pushing for the same regulations to be applied to them.

In response Tory Shadow Culture Secretary, Hugo Swire has said the party will be reviewing whether to continue allowing its members a free vote on the casino issue.

Swire said in a letter to Jowell: "Clearly this is something that was not considered by parliament when it debated the legislation. Given the clear opposition from both Houses to allow anything more than a strictly controlled pilot scheme it would be unthinkable to allow such a situation to arise."

A spokesman for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport however said: "What's being proposed could potentially result in over 14,000 additional high-prize gaming machines being introduced into the British market. We are not prepared to let that happen."

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By Emily Manson

E-mail your comments to Emily Manson](mailto:emily.manson@rbi.co.uk?subject=Potential revolt over government's new casino laws builds at Parliament) here.

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