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Supercasino can be built in city
SOUTHAMPTON has finally been given the go-ahead to build its Las Vegas-style casino, the Daily Echo can reveal.
The announcement by the Government is a major boost for the new plans to transform Southampton’s waterfront into a marine basin.
The Royal Pier site is the favoured location for the giant casino as it could help cover some of the £325m redevelopment cost.
However, before a brick is laid Southampton residents will have their say on whether the plans will get the goahead.
With up to 150 slot machines and £4,000 jackpots it would dwarf the UK’s current largest casinos and pump an estimated £11m annually into the local economy.
In May last year, Southampton was confirmed as one of eight authorities allowed to grant a so-called “large” casino licence.
But little progress has been made since because a complex set of new gambling regulations needed parliamentary approval.
The last of these regulations has now come into force giving the successful councils the power to move ahead with their casino plans.
A Department for Culture, Media and Sport spokesman said that Southampton City Council was now free to invite casino operators to bid for the lucrative licence.
Opposition Labour councillor Derek Burke said that the casino would be the catalyst for the much longed-for waterfront redevelopment.
“It’s time that we had a proper debate in the city about whether the people want a large casino or not,” Cllr Burke said.
“I am personally in favour because people can gamble 24 hours a day on the Internet if they want to, so if we can get a major development out of it then that is something we should look at very carefully.”
Liberal Democrat councillor John Slade said: “This is probably the last thing the Conservatives want, but this is a public debate that has got to happen now.
“It would be a catalyst for getting the Royal Pier done, but is the social cost going to be a price too high to pay?”
Councillor Royston Smith, Cabinet member for economic development, said that the council would not speak to casino operators until after a public consultation was held, and that this would not happen until next year because there are still no detailed plans for the waterfront.
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