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Last Updated: Thursday, 17 May 2007, 15:21 GMT 16:21 UK
Court bid to block casino plans
Slot machine
Manchester has been earmarked to house the UK's first super-casino
An attempt to block the government's plans for a new super-casino has been launched at the High Court in London.

The British Casino Association argues that operators of the development, along with those of 16 other new casinos, will have an unfair advantage.

Michael Beloff QC, for BCA, told the court Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell had displayed "blatant unfairness".

Ms Jowell's lawyers said the challenge was "without merit". Manchester was the preferred site for the super-casino.

Peers rejected plans for 17 casinos, including the super-casino, in March, but the government says it intends to continue pressing forward with its policy.

'Fair consultation'

The application for judicial review is being held before Mr Justice Langstaff.

The three-day hearing will seek to establish whether the Gambling Act discriminates against them.

The BCA represents the interests of existing casinos, and its legal action is being backed by five of its member companies which operate 116 of Britain's 138 casinos.

Mr Beloff told the court lost profits could be as much as 120m a year.

And he said the culture secretary had not lived up to her "duties of fair consultation".

But Ms Jowell's lawyers said the case should be dismissed.

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