Doubt remains over casino bid

Further discussions on whether a casino should be sited in Solihull will be held at a meeting on Monday night.

On Friday Solihull Council’s overview and scrutiny management board met to consider whether a casino built at the NEC or anywhere else in Solihull would be in the interests of the borough.

A number of speakers and interested parties – both for and against the casino – made representations but the board decided to defer their recommendation to their next meeting on Monday.

Among the speakers was Nigel Russell from Advantage West Midlands who spoke about regional opportunities and benefits and Superintendent Gordon Scobbie from West Midlands Police who spoke about the crime and disorder implications.

Dr Issam Ghannam from Solihull Muslim Association, said: „The health of the nation should be in the hearts of the politicians and councillors. We might get money from the casino, but we’ll spend ten times more fixing the problems.“

While Rev Dr Peter Hatton from Solihull Faiths Forum described gambling as a „sleazy, reprehensible“ activity and a „tolerated vice“.

„We are unanimously against this proposal, we regard it as most unwelcome. I hope that nobody here thinks that our objections are based on some killjoy reaction to people enjoying themselves.“

However the NEC were keen to point out the benefits it could have on the region, particularly north Solihull and added that the venue now needs to compete not only on a national, but also international level as „the rest of the world has taken over“.

John Hornby, chief operating officer, from the NEC, added: „This is not just about money, if it were, it wouldn’t serve our purpose and it certainly wouldn’t serve yours.“