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Online Gambling Fears Overblown
No more than 20 to 40 new casinos can be expected
to open across the country as a result of liberalisation of gambling
laws, the Culture Department has said today.
Measures in Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell’s
Gambling Bill to ditch restrictions on the development of casinos have
sparked widespread concern from churches, opposition MPs and prominent
Labour figures, who fear gaming centres will open up on every high
Unconfirmed reports today suggested the unease had
spread to the Cabinet, with Ms Jowell facing opposition from colleagues
including Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott, who will have the power
to block casino developments on planning grounds.
But a Department spokesman today insisted the whole
Government had "bought into" the liberalisation proposals.
Claims that the legislation could lead to hundreds
of casinos across the country were overblown.
"Our estimates are between 20-40 more casinos, full
stop," he said, adding that the Bill contained measures to give local
communities a say in blocking casino development.
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