Casino bid gathers pace

Proposals for the creation of a casino came a step closer to reality this week after Solihull Council’s overview and scrutiny management board decided to back them.

The board will recommend full council does not resist the building of a Casino in Solihull should the government give the go-ahead.

Uncertainty still surrounds the scheme, following the rejection of government recommendations in the House of Lords but supporters remain hopeful it will eventually be given the green light.

The latest decision comes after a special meeting last month, where members of the OSMB heard evidence from a recent study and representations from a number of speakers about the advantages and disadvantages of a large casino.

Among those to speak were Nigel Russell from Advantage West Midlands, who highlighted opportunities and benefits, and Superintendent Gordon Scobbie from West Midlands Police, who spoke about crime and dis-order implications.

The board opted to defer a decision until Monday this week when it decided not to support a motion opposing the casino put to the council in April.

The development is likely to meet with some opposition. Last week the Rev Peter Hatton of Solihull Faiths Forum described gambling as a „tolerated vice.“ The forum had been among those to speak at last month’s meeting.

The building of a large casino has been the subject of debate since Solihull was chosen as one of eight sites for such a facility. The NEC remains the favourite location should a casino be built.

Chairman of the overview and scrutiny management board, Cllr Ian Hedley said: „Having considered all of the evidence put before us the board feels that a casino will bring significant economic benefits to the borough and is in favour of recommending that the council continues to support it.“

The new motion will be put to council next month, recommending it continues to support having a casino in the borough.