MANSFIELD MAKES CASINO SHORTLIST
Delight as Mansfield makes casino shortlist
CHAD, 31 May 2006
THE smart money is on Mansfield this week after it received a huge boost in its bid to bring an all-new casino to the town.
Delighted council chiefs received the news they were waiting for when the Government-appointed Casino Advisory Panel confirmed that the town had made it onto a shortlist to build 17 casinos across Britain.
Mansfield District Council had applied for a licence to build a 'large' casino centre in the area, which would offer up to 150 machines with jackpots as high as £4,000.
And now just 31 towns are left with the chance of building either a large or small centre –– while another eight councils are still in the running to build a 'regional' sized super casino.
Mansfield mayor Tony Egginton has welcomed the news and said the council would now look at where the development could be built.
"There are a few parties that have shown an interest in pursuing the project already, and I'm sure this news will bring a few more forward," he said.
"We already have an arena-type operator who is very interested in a development, and the Stags declared an interest previously. But this development may well attract a quality hotelier to the town –– and that's my real aim."
Local rivals Chesterfield failed to make it through as the shortlist was whittled down from 68 original proposals –– although Government chiefs say no final decision will be made until the end of July.
The Casino Advisory Panel says it will now take a closer look at the remaining bids and will consult local development agencies and residents to find out local opinion on the plans.
It is thought a casino could bring up to 400 jobs to Mansfield and breathe new life into the area by boosting the local economy and providing new leisure facilities.
But there are also fears it would increase gambling addiction and crime, while some residents are concerned the jobs offered would be low paid.
Mr Egginton this week renewed his promise that the council would carry out a full public consultation once the casino bid had become 'site specific' –– and insisted the council would handle a casino licence responsibly.
"As a licensing authority we will have the opportunity to impose the conditions and the criteria so we can ensure we get a quality opportunity that lend itself to the vulnerable sectors of our district," he said.
"We want something at the top end of the market where we wouldn't be attracting anti-social, loutish behaviour."
The Casino Advisory Panel is expected to make a final decision on where the 17 casinos will be built in December.