Ground rules set out for race to operate new Middlesbrough casino

The rules for the race to be the operator of the large casino planned for Middlesbrough are being set.

A key consideration in choosing who will be the operator, will be the level of regeneration benefits surrounding a particular proposal.

Barry Coppinger, Middlesbrough Council’s Executive councillor for community safety, has approved a new draft licensing policy for the borough under the Gambling Act.

The new policy, which is now subject to public consultation, takes into account changes in legislation and Middlesbrough being allocated one of the 16 new casinos the Government announced in 2008.

It sets out the process for selecting a successful bidder to operate a large casino in Middlesbrough.

Applications would first be considered for a casino premises licence.

All successful applications would then move to a second competition stage to be selected as the operator.

Applicants would be required to spell out the benefit they could bring to the residents of Middlesbrough and how they could contribute to the well-being of the area.

“The Licensing Authority will decide between the competing applications and grant the available licence to the applicant that it considers will result in the greatest benefit to Middlesbrough,” states the draft policy.

It says applications should look at issues such as proposals to:

  • Prevent problem gambling and crime and disorder.
  • Create local training and employment opportunities.
  • Give opportunities to local businesses through the construction and operation of the casino.
  • Provide benefits from non-gaming facilities and services.
  • Provide benefits from the physical impact of the development and for community regeneration.
  • Provide proposals where benefits might take the form of financial contributions and how they would be administered.

The draft policy states that although applicants can submit plans for any site in the borough which would be judged on their merits, the council has taken the provisional view the location likely to bring the greatest benefit is within the town centre.

Cllr Coppinger said the draft policy had come about as a result of some initial consultation and comments submitted had been taken on board.

He said the policy was more flexible and comments on applications under the Gambling Act could be made more easily by residents and councillors.

“This draft policy will form the ground rules for any applications of a large casino as part of a regeneration project,” he said.