Church campaigners condemn plans for Manchester super-casino

By staff writers
January 31, 2007

Church campaigners have condemned Manchester's victory in super-casino race for 'creating crippling debts and undermining efforts to tackle child poverty in the city.'

Manchester based national charity, Church Action on Poverty, condemned today's announcement that the UK's first super-casino will be in Manchester as a 'threat to worsen the city's already poor record on debt and child poverty.'

Niall Cooper, national coordinator of Church Action on Poverty, and vice-chair of the Debt on our Doorstep network said: "Only last week Save the Children reported that Manchester has one of the worst records for child poverty in the country. Locating the UK's first super-casino in East Manchester - one of the poorest areas of the city - runs the risk of worsening the city's already poor record on tackling child poverty. Many families across the city are already struggling to make ends meet - the super casino is likely to tip many over the edge into crippling and unsustainable debt."

"Far from stimulating the regeneration of the area, a super casino in East Manchester could create a rise in debt, gambling addicts, crime, debt and homelessness. Recent research from Australia suggests that relaxing gambling laws has led to an increase in homelessness, problem gambling and other social problems. The council talks about it bringing jobs and tourism but regeneration is not to be welcomed at any cost."

Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell said MPs would be given the final say - via a Commons vote - on the proposals.

Manchester was a 16-1 outsider at the bookmakers to be selected as a test-bed for the UK's first regional "resort" casino.

There has been speculation that more super-casino licences might be awarded but Ms Jowell told MPs that there would definitely be no more granted during this Parliament.

Any further casinos would have to be approved by parliament and would not be considered until there had been a "proper evaluation over time" of the social and economic effects.

She said: "Las Vegas is not coming to Great Britain... British casinos will be subject to new controls, which will be the strictest in the world."

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