Inquiry into casino plans is announced

A commission is to be created that will examine the case for a large casino to be built on Waltham Forest’s doorstep.

Last month the Government’s Casino Advisory Panel (CAP) announced that Newham, subject to approval from Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell, is one of the eight authorities permitted to build a large casino.

The complex, which would have at least 150 gambling machines, is set to be built at Stratford City, West Ham United FC or the Docklands‘ ExCel Centre.

All three Waltham Forest MPs have expressed concerns about the plans, and religious leaders are also opposing the casino, believing it will increase gambling addiction and crime in the borough.

On Monday the Mayor of Newham Sir Robin Wales announced the setting up of the commission.

A retired High Court judge is likely to be invited to lead the inquiry, supported by experts in academia, regeneration and commerce.

It would sit for about two months in the summer and hear submissions from councillors, service delivery partner organisations, community groups and residents.

Sir Robin said: „This is a controversial subject about which many people hold strong views.

„I think it will be of enormous assistance to all sides to have a cool, dispassionate analysis of the potential benefits and pitfalls of a casino.“