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Last Updated: Thursday, 14 October, 2004, 13:26 GMT 14:26 UK
Gambling laws brought forward
The gambling shake-up could see 'casino towns' opened up
Plans for a shake-up of gambling laws will now be introduced by the government before the end of this Parliamentary session.

Commons leader Peter Hain said that once introduced, the Gambling Bill would then be "carried over".

The Bill relaxes gambling controls but brings in measures to protect children.

Introducing the Bill this session, means it is more likely to become law as the next session is set to be squeezed by a general election.

It had been expected that the Gambling Bill would be introduced in the Queen's Speech at the start of the next session.

The planned relaxation of gambling regulations could allow local authorities to open up Las Vegas-style casino towns in deprived areas.

Many health groups and MPs have been critical of the plans - which they say could increase the levels of gambling addiction.

Mr Hain also announced that debate would begin in this session on the School Transport Bill, and, he hoped, the Disability Discrimination Bill - both of which have already been published in draft form.

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