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Blair Urged to Cut Casino Plan

28 October 2004

UNITED KINGDOM – As reported by the Bloomberg News: 'U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair's government may scale back plans for U.S.-style super-casinos after some lawmakers in the ruling Labour Party joined the opposition in demanding changes to proposed legislation.

"The law would allow companies to build complexes such as one announced Oct. 12 planned by Caesars Entertainment Inc., the world's largest casino company. The complex will cost 650 million pounds (US$1.2 billion) and be built on land around the English national soccer stadium at Wembley, a London suburb.

"Lawmakers said the planned legislation, which the government estimates will generate as much as 5.5 billion pounds of investment and create as many as 85,000 jobs, will encourage gambling and may add to consumer debt and increase poverty.

"…The government says the law may boost the amount spent on gambling in the U.K. by 40 percent. Blair says the 36-year-old gambling laws need modernizing and wants to prevent children from using slot machines. Opposition Conservative and Liberal Democrat members of Parliament have proposed amendments to force the government to cap the number of big casinos.

"…Conservative lawmakers and other opposition party members said the legislation as written will open the way for U.S. companies to take over more of the British gaming industry. Companies including Las Vegas-based MGM Mirage and Kerzner International Ltd. of the Bahamas plan to take advantage of the new laws to build casinos in the U.K…"

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