Plans for “super-casinos” should be revived as controls are introduced to promote more responsible gambling, a senior figure in London’s gaming industry said today.
Roy Ramm, governance and public affairs director at Caesars Entertainment, claimed casinos had improved their standards since the dispute over proposed super-casinos a decade ago.
Plans for the giant gaming centres were scrapped by Gordon Brown.
Mr Ramm called the current 2005 Gambling Act a “complete failure” that had not delivered casinos to communities that bid for them. The Act allowed new casinos to operate up to 150 slot machines when older ones were limited to 20. A total of 16 were granted licences but only two have opened, in Westfield Stratford City and Milton Keynes.
Mr Ramm, a former commander of specialist operations at Scotland Yard, claimed a new initiative called Playing Safe had transformed the industry. It includes a certification scheme involving independent assessors who check for bad practice and interview staff.
Casinos are encouraged to educate people about the risks of gambling, while staff are taught to watch gamblers for signs of distress. Caesars, which operates three casinos in London, has become the first UK gambling company to win a certificate of good practice. Mr Ramm said: “This is about making sure gambling is a pastime not a problem for people. For a tiny percentage, less than three per cent, it becomes a problem.