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Mid Suffolk Council says no casinos will be established within district for next three years

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A Suffolk council has resolved that no casino will be established in its district.

Mid Suffolk District Council last week passed a ‘no casino’ resolution for the authority for the next three years by 16 votes to 12.

The resolution was first tabled several years ago when plans for the SnOasis leisure complex included proposals for a casino.

A Suffolk council has resolved that no casino will be established in its district
A Suffolk council has resolved that no casino will be established in its district

That scheme was ultimately scrapped, and revised proposals – now called Valley Ridge – do not include any kind of gambling establishment.

But in last week’s full council meeting councillors said adopting such a resolution now meant future prospective developers were clear it was not something that would be supported.

Green councillor Oliver Amorowson said that 'what happens in Vegas should stay in Vegas', while Conservative Barry Humphreys said: "I think this is a golden opportunity to say no," and "we need to protect our residents from that threat of gambling".

The Government only issues a limited number of licences for casinos – eight small, eight large and one regional – with all of those currently accounted for in other districts or boroughs in the UK.

It means that new casinos could only be established currently if one of those licences became available or the Government allowed new ones.

However, Mid Suffolk’s report deemed that unlikely because the Government is tightening its gambling restrictions rather than relaxing them.

Councillors against the resolution said that, while they did not encourage gambling, the strict Government controls on licence arrangements meant such a resolution was not necessary.

No applications have been received since the Gambling Act 2005 was introduced.

Councillor Kathie Guthrie, Conservative, said: “There are no licences, there are very unlikely to be any licences, and if we have to pass this resolution it’s going to be a cost to the council.”

Conservative councillor John Whitehead added that it was 'a slippery slope' to rejecting other activities such as the sale of lottery tickets or new betting shops.

The district currently has only two betting shops in the area.

The authority has previously held three votes on the issue, most recently in 2018, but last week was the first time a no casino resolution has been passed.

Green councillor Andrew Stringer said it provides 'clarity about what we in Mid Suffolk expect'.

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