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Last Updated: Monday, 16 July 2007, 14:46 GMT 15:46 UK
Councils asked again about casino
Slot machine
Supporters say building casinos will help regeneration
The government is asking 16 councils awarded licences for new larger casinos earlier this year whether they have since had a "change of heart".

Culture Secretary James Purnell said several local authorities had changed control in May's local elections.

He has written to them to confirm the councils' "continued desire" for a casino, he added in a statement.

Gordon Brown has ordered a review of gambling policy, throwing Manchester's planned super-casino into doubt.

'Local accountability'

In March, an independent panel also designated the locations for eight large and eight smaller casinos - all of which are bigger than current casinos.

Mr Purnell confirmed that these - as well as the Manchester super-casino - would be subject to further discussion.

LARGE CASINOS
Great Yarmouth
Hull
Leeds
Middlesbrough
Milton Keynes
Newham
Solihull
Southampton

He said: "Since Parliament debated this issue, there have been local elections in many of the areas concerned.

"Some have experienced a change of political control, and in the remaining authorities some of the individual councillors involved in relevant decisions may have changed."

Government reform of gambling policy had placed "a great emphasis" on local accountability, Mr Purnell said.

He added: "Against this backdrop, I have decided to write to the authorities concerned to ask them to confirm their continued desire to license a new casino."

SMALL CASINOS
Bath and North East Somerset
Dumfries and Galloway
East Lindsey
Luton
Scarborough
Swansea
Torbay
Wolverhampton

He also said: "If any of the authorities have had a change of heart, I will not include them in new legislation."

During prime minister's questions last week, Mr Brown was told by Labour MP Andy Reed that most people thought building more casinos would make gambling addiction worse.

Mr Brown replied that the issue would be "subject to reflection over the next few months", with a "full report" on the social impact of gambling in September.

A Whitehall source subsequently told the BBC the planned super-casino in Manchester was "dead in the water", but it had been thought the 16 other new casinos were still on track.

Supporters of the casinos say they are a way of regenerating areas, although Mr Brown said there would be a review of other methods of regenerating areas.


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