Super Casinos Dropped In Face Of Daily Mail Campaign, Former Minister Richard Caborn Admits
Labour curtailed its plans for super-casinos in the face of a negative campaign by the Daily Mail in the run-up to a general election, a former minister admitted today.
Former sports minister Richard Caborn told MPs there were two "things", when asked if cutting the number of super-casinos was a political concession.
"One is you've got a campaign run by a national newspaper - the Daily Mail - and the second thing, you were coming up to an election in 2005.
"That was the reality of it. Did you save the chunk of the Bill, online gambling and all that, did you save all that and do a deal on wash-up?"
In April 2005, Tessa Jowell, the then culture secretary, conceded there would only be provision for one of the controversial complexes instead of eight.
Jowell said the decision was based on "parliamentary politics", not "external forces". The super-casino plan was eventually dropped altogether in 2008.
The Labour MP also said there were issues with betting machines.
"At the moment I think it is possible to lose, if you just play constantly for an hour, you can lose £18,000. I would be concerned about that."
She said the machines had been put "on probation" by Labour because the Government had been worried about unintended consequences and problem gambling.