Lancashire

Minister aims to revive Blackpool's super casino bid

Roulette wheel Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Plans for a range of super casinos around England were shelved more than a decade ago

A move to revive plans for a Las Vegas-style super casino in Blackpool has been signalled by the Northern Powerhouse minister.

Jake Berry said a huge casino could help spark a "once in a generation" chance to regenerate the seaside town.

Plans to build 16 super casinos around England were mooted in 2007 before being defeated in the House of Lords.

Anti-gambling campaigners and local politicians said they remain sceptical about the plan.

The project was billed as a massive expansion of Britain's casino industry by the Blair government, but soon hit the buffers following a public backlash.

Mr Berry said: "It is early days but I think this is a prize worth reaching for.

"So far I've had a discussion with the leader of Blackpool Council and I have been speaking to the council to see if it is possible to unbung the legislation which still remains on the statute books."

Image caption Jake Berry said the casino could help revive Blackpool's financial fortunes

Mr Berry said research had shown a casino could create more than 3,000 jobs and bring millions of pounds to the town's economy.

"But it must be backed by a social welfare fund to reinvest in improving the life chances of the poorest people," he added.

However, council opposition leader Tony Williams, said he remained unconvinced about the location and the demand for a huge casino.

"One of the issues would be whether or not a super casino is still the exciting project it was 10 years ago," he said.

"Gambling has now become so much an online activity.

"While I welcome any investment into the town I actually think this may not have legs."

Steven Bate, who was a member of a group set up to oppose the 2007 scheme, echoed the councillor's comments.

He added: "It is very doubtful if the government could get any legislation through the Lords to allow it. The last attempt was a failure."

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites