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PM Brown hit by casino losses

2 April 2008

UNITED KINGDOM – As reported by the Yorkshire Post: "Gordon Brown could be on a collision course with the gaming industry on which he has staked regeneration hopes – after £1.8m losses by a flagship Yorkshire casino underlined a growing crisis.

"Scarborough's £7m Opera House Casino lost more than £1m in 2005-06, its first year of trading, and more than £838,500 in the tax year ending March 2007 despite a 28 per cent increase in customers and a 31 per cent rise in turnover.

"Bosses say they were happy with the overall trading picture, but had gone over budget due to launch costs and unforeseen building bills. But what worried them going into 2008 was the increase in gaming duty, the smoking ban, and banning of certain types of slot machines.

"…Although the seaside town has only been licensed for one of the smaller casinos under the Parliamentary Bill it is still expected to employ 200 staff. It will be allowed bigger gaming areas, bigger prize money, be able to host bingo, and operate 80 slot machines, compared with the Opera House's limit of 20.

"…The British Casino Association (BCA) says seven casinos have shut recently, including the Grosvenor in Scarborough, due to the same problems the Opera House was running into…"

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