Tiff over council stand on casinos

A ROW broke out in North Somerset Council over whether casinos should be built in the district. Liberal Democrat colleagues Mike Bell and Deborah Yamanaka were at loggerheads over a 'no casino' policy at an executive meeting on Tuesday. Cllr Yamanaka supp

A ROW broke out in North Somerset Council over whether casinos should be built in the district.Liberal Democrat colleagues Mike Bell and Deborah Yamanaka were at loggerheads over a 'no casino' policy at an executive meeting on Tuesday.Cllr Yamanaka supported the Community Services Policy and Scrutiny Panel's recommendation to vote against allowing casinos to apply for gambling licences.Under the Gambling Act 2006, local councils replace magistrates as the licensing authority.Cllr Bell said he didn't want to rule the prospect of casinos out, especially if they provided regeneration projects. He said: "We should not close the door to businesses who want to build a casino in the district."We should judge individual applications on their own merits. "I would hate for an opportunity for the regeneration of Birnbeck Pier to slip by if a casino depended upon it."There are also gambling events that raise money for charity such as race nights and it would be a shame to have to stop them."The council ran out of time to apply to the Government for a Las Vegas style super casino in March.Cllr Yamanaka said she opposed casinos because they attracted organised crime.She said: "I'm not too keen on them because of the potential dangers to community safety."Casinos tend to attract the kind of people who are involved in organised crime."I hope the future of Weston doesn't depend on having a casino."The issue will now be debated by members at a full council meeting on October 17.


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