26 February 2008

Methodist delight at decision to drop the supercasino

The Methodist Church welcomes today's Government announcement that they will not grant a supercasino licence. Proposals for supercasinos, also known as regional casinos, have been strongly opposed by The Methodist Church.

Alison Jackson, Team Leader for Public Issues in the Methodist Church, said "we are delighted to hear that the Government is not intending to grant a licence for a supercasino. We are pleased that the Government has listened to reason and decided against building a massive gambling complex with unlimited jackpot fruit machines in a deprived area. The Methodist Church calls on the Government to support other ways of regenerating those communities most in need."

The Methodist Church will continue to monitor the impact of the 16 new large and small casinos that will now open as planned. The Church will keep pressure on the government and the industry to do all they can to protect players and support people who have a gambling problem.

Alison says "the new casinos will be a cause of concern for many people, not least those who live in the neighbourhoods where the casinos are going to be built. We urge the casino operators and the licensing authorities to do all in their power to encourage responsible gaming, and to help those in need."

The new casinos will be subject to a three-year evaluation period to monitor their impact. The Methodist Church is demanding that this time period should start when the casinos open and take three years of full operation into account. The premises will take time to build and fit out, so counting the three years from the date on which the licences are awarded could mean that the casinos have been open for only a few weeks when the review takes place.

ENDS Notes: 1. Against the odds…? is a briefing on the Gambling Act 2005 from the Methodist Church and the Salvation Army, and contains details of the Churches' concerns about gambling.

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