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Last Updated: Wednesday, 19 September 2007, 13:28 GMT 14:28 UK
MP confident on casino findings
Stranraer casino plans
Stranraer was the only Scots site to be recommended
A major study of gambling levels in the UK is unlikely to affect plans for a casino development in Stranraer, according to the area's MP.

The Gambling Commission report found that a drop in National Lottery sales had seen the percentage of people gambling fall from 72% in 1999 to 68%.

Dumfries and Galloway MP Russell Brown said he was surprised by the decrease.

He added that he did not think the report would have "much impact" on plans for a casino in the ferry town.

The local council believes the project has great regeneration potential but there have been concerns from the public about the development drawing people into debt.

The Stranraer scheme was the only Scottish site approved for a proposed casino licence earlier this year.

I don't think this report will have much impact on whether we see a casino being built in Stranraer
Russell Brown MP

A total of 16 smaller developments and one super-casino were recommended for approval by the Casino Advisory Panel.

However, a House of Lords vote against the schemes raised doubts about the future of the project.

An announcement by Prime Minister Gordon Brown that the UK Government's plan to use super-casinos to regenerate run-down areas would be reviewed also raised questions over the Dumfries and Galloway plan.

Promises were given at the time that the Scottish site's fate would not be linked to plans for a super-casino in Manchester.

The scheme has met with a significant level of local opposition.

Concerns have been raised about the potential for increased debt in the town if the casino gets the go-ahead.

A petition was also organised by opponents of the plan.

Dumfries and Galloway MP Mr Brown said he felt the latest report would have little effect on the overall fate of the plans.

'Change of heart'

There had been fears that any increase in gambling levels might have been used to oppose casino schemes.

"I don't think this report will have much impact on whether we see a casino being built in Stranraer," he said.

"The government's recent review centred primarily on whether there would be a rethink of the planned Manchester super super-casino and there will be separate research to look at that over and above this report.

"The licences for 16 smaller ones are still likely to go to councils, including Dumfries and Galloway, unless the local authorities involved have a change of heart."

He stressed that any final decision on the Stranraer scheme should be taken locally after a "proper debate".

The small-scale casino licence allows for up to 80 gaming machines with a maximum jackpot of 4,000.


SEE ALSO
Assurance given over casino plan
17 Jul 07 |  South of Scotland
Assurances over Stranraer casino
12 Jul 07 |  South of Scotland
Casino vision thrown into doubt
29 Mar 07 |  South of Scotland
Ferry town set for casino licence
30 Jan 07 |  South of Scotland

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