Existing casinos fight plans for construction of further 17 in the UK

The British Casino Association said today it has won permission to challenge the legality of Government plans to allow the construction of 17 new casinos in the UK.

The BCA, which represents the interests of existing casinos, says the new operators will be given an unfair advantage.

Changes to the law, due to take effect in September, will include provision for the first Las Vegas-style ’super-casino‘.

The BCA said High Court judge Mr Justice Collins had given permission for a three-day hearing before May 25 at which it will argue that the Gambling Act discriminates against established premises.

Penny Cobham, BCA chairwoman, said in a statement: „We have consistently argued that existing casinos would be unfairly treated under the terms of the Act through its inherent inequality and incoherence.

„The additional entitlements given to the 17 new casinos will seriously threaten many long established businesses and jobs.“

News of the legal challenge follows close on the House of Lords vote last week against plans to open the first 5,000-square-metre (54,000 square feet) super-casino in Manchester.

The Government says it plans to continue pressing on.

Don Foster, the Liberal Democrat’s shadow secretary for culture, media and sport, said the legal challenge dealt „yet another blow to the ill-thought-out casino legislation that the Government have tried to railroad through Parliament“.

He said: „Once again, the Government has shown itself to be unaware of the gambling environment in Britain, even though Tessa Jowell seeks to introduce dramatic changes to it.

„If this judicial review is successful, it would significantly change the climate in which the new casino trial is due to take place.“