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SOLIHULL WOLVO CASINO LIMBO

12-04-2007

Plans for major new casinos in Solihull and Wolverhampton are still in limbo following last month’s shock parliamentary rejection of the government’s gambling Bill.

The House of Lords turned downproposals to createa new “supercasino” in Manchester, after intensive lobbying from its beaten rival Blackpool; but in so doing, they also knocked back 16 other medium-sized regional casinos.

This was bad news for the NEC - the likeliest casino venue in Solihull - and Dunstall Park racecourse, whose owners had hoped to use the lure of gambling to develop Wolvo’s conference and hotel “offer.”

The Stirrer’s latest Westminster soundings suggest that all may not be lost though.

We understand that after the Easter recess, there may be an attempt to revive the casino plan, by simply excluding the controversial Manchester vs Blackpool option.

Hapless Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell could have done this in March, but such was her complacency - and self-confessed lack of a Plan B - that it seems the thought never crossed her mind.

Many MP’s and, crucially, peers are more likely to support the idea of medium-sized casinos if the supercasino idea is put on a back burner - although as one senior political source put it, “you can’t call anything at the moment.”

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