Glasgow’s battle to get the licence for the UK‘s only super casino was today given a major boost.
The Government is under pressure from its own backbenchers to grant licences for more than one super casino.
Fresh calls were made today during a debate when MPs claimed it would not be possible to measure the economic and social benefits of a super casino if only one operated on the British mainland.
The Government had planned to grant licences for eight regional casinos but Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell was forced to backtrack shortly before last year’s General Election.
She struck a deal with the Tories to allow just one to go-ahead in a last-ditch attempt to save the Government’s Gambling Bill.
Around 40 cities and towns are expected to lodge rival bids, with growing speculation that the serious contenders will be the London Dome, Blackpool, Manchester and Glasgow.
Today ex-Labour minister Tony Lloyd said increasing the number of regional casinos was „in the interest of Britain as a whole“.
Having more than one was necessary to examine how to create effective partnerships between gambling firms and councils as well as assessing the commercial viability.
The GBP 250million investment in a single super casino would create 2300 jobs, he added.
Labour former Local Government Minister Nick Raynsford said one super casino was „simply not enough“.
Labour MP Graham Stringer said: „You cannot test the social impact in just once place. Seaside towns are very different to a city, rural areas are different to towns.“
But Glasgow East Labour MP David Marshall said more balance and analysis was needed before any decision was taken to allow more than one super casino.
He said: „The social cost is potentially high and in most locations could outweigh the benefits.“
There are three potential sites in Glasgow for a super casino.