MORE ON CASINO / MEALE
£100m casino could be on cards for Stags
CHAD website, 12 January 2006
A £100M Las Vegas-style casino complex could be built in Mansfield as part of an ambitious multi-million pound scheme to regenerate the town.
American-based Las Vegas Sands Corp aims to take advantage of a relaxation in gambling laws to build a massive entertainment centre including a 'super' casino with unlimited stakes and cash prizes on the training ground at Mansfield Town Football Club.
Project leaders say the money-spinning development would also include a hotel, restaurants and a number of bars and could bring up to 3,000 jobs to the area.
This week Mansfield MP Alan Meale backed the economy-boosting scheme in principle, but said the Mansfield public should be fully consulted before a decision is made.
"The Government is currently consulting with local authorities about whether they want a site like this in their area and it will be their decision in the end," he said. "We now need to ensure that the community is fully consulted on the proposals before a decision is made.
"On the face of it a casino would bring a lot of jobs to the area and attract a lot of people to the town. It would bring a big hotel which Mansfield needs and will help to raise the town's profile and turn it into one of the region's top tourist attractions.
"This will help provide a major lift to our economy and to established local businesses. However, there is a lot to be discussed such as the dangers that a casino in Mansfield will lead to an increase in problems with gambling addictions.
"It is very much a difficult balancing act between the benefits to jobs and business and the drawbacks such as gambling problems. It is crucial that a full consultation exercise now takes place as part of the planning procedure."
His views were echoed by Mansfield mayor Tony Egginton, who told Chad that a new leisure complex would help attract thousands of tourists and be welcome news for the local economy.
"When there is the opportunity to create all these jobs and bring new facilities to the area we have to be interested in the proposals,but at the moment there are lots of things to discuss and it is very much early days," he said.
"We have to ensure that if this development came to Mansfield the right mix of entertainment attractions such as restaurants and bowling alleys are included and the balance between the dangers of increased gambling and a boost for businesses is correct."
Las Vegas Sands Corp, which owns a string of casinos in Nevada and began negotiations in March with Mansfield District Council and Mansfield Town Football Club, hopes the development could be up and running as early as 2010 if planning chiefs give the scheme the green light.
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