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News - 16 June 2004
Big prizes from a little pull?

Las Vegas comes to UK but is it coming to Brighton?

Under the government’s plans to reform the antiquated UK gaming laws, super fruit machines offering £1m jackpots could be introduced into the UK in the next two years.

In a dramatic move to try to limit the effect of gambling on the vulnerable the reforms propose to remove the 6,000 one-armed bandits from unlicensed premises (which will include shops and fast food outlets) but allow a limited number of licensed premises like new regional casinos casinos to offer a limited number (1,250 per casino) of super machines.

Britons spend £3.7bn each year in the UK’s 125 licensed casinos and despite having some 300,000 problem gamblers, we have one of the lowest rates of problem gambling in the world.

The government hopes that the reform of the laws will attract large players like Las Vegas Sands into the UK complete with thousands of jobs. Some towns, like Blackpool, have ambitious plans to become gaming centres. This is unlikely to happen in Brighton & Hove although there may well be a compelling case for including one or two major new casinos to plug the funding gap in some of the city’s more ambitious redevelopment projects.

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