Supercasino ’not a problem‘

A supercasino in Manchester would not lead to an explosion of problem gambling and should go ahead, a major study will claim today.

The document will find ‚little evidence‘ that the GBP 265m development – earmarked for east Manchester but set to be scrapped after an apparent u-turn by Gordon Brown – would ’significantly‘ increase the number of gambling addicts.

It will identify the ‚real danger‘ of increased addiction as lying in the huge increase in internet betting and not in the supercasino – which it will identify as potentially the most tightly regulated form of betting in Britain.

The report has been drawn up by Paul Bellringer, the founder of gambling information charity GamCare, and Prof. Mark Griffiths, of the International Gaming Research Unit at Nottingham Trent University.

It was commissioned by the council as it steps up its bid to save the supercasino despite sources close to the prime minister describing it as ‚dead in the water‘.

The project was thrown into doubt when the House of Lords rejected a package of casinos – including the supercasino – by three votes.

The council has continued to press its case, pointing out that the development would create 3,500 jobs and include a raft of leisure and sporting facilities for a deprived community.

The new report is expected to point out that Manchester’s plans for a new Responsible Gambling Unit would keep a close eye on the supercasino and make it almost impossible for problem gambling to go unchecked.

Mr Bellringer said that available evidence simply did not support claims that the supercasino would be responsible for large amounts of gambling addiction.

He said: „It is not so much that the government is looking the wrong way, but they are creating a storm in a teacup by focusing on this one casino.

„It is a casino which would have a searchlight thrown on it by the government and media.

„The trouble with the internet is that it remains a bit like the Wild West out there.“

GamCare describes itself as neither pro or anti-gambling, but rather is committed to studying the impact of betting.