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From The Socialist newspaper, 7 February 2007

Super-casinos

Has Manchester struck it lucky?

"MANCHESTER HITS the jackpot." This was how the Manchester Evening News greeted the announcement that the city had won the bid for Britain's first 'super casino'.

Christian Bunke, Manchester Socialist Party

This casino, predicted to be the size of a football pitch, with 1,250 slot machines and apparently providing thousands of new jobs will be built in 'Sportcity', near the City of Manchester stadium in Beswick.

Beswick is in dire need of regeneration. It is one of Manchester's most poverty-stricken areas, mainly due to deindustrialisation. Many people will welcome any opportunity for new jobs. However, will ordinary people benefit in other ways from the casino?

One local resident commented about recent experiences with 'regeneration' exercises on the Manchester Evening News website: "I'm not too sure how it will benefit the people of east Manchester apart from the jobs aspect. I'm already losing my home to make way for the building of canal-side apartments and I won't be able to afford a replacement home in this area.

"The regeneration of east Manchester is supposed to be about helping the people who live here, but at times it feels we're being pushed out to make way for people with lots of money moving in."

Only a day after the announcement, property prices in the area sky rocketed. It will certainly not ease any fears held by the local population. The Observer revealed that one member of the judging panel who awarded the casino to Manchester is a Manchester City season ticket holder with connections to the council.

The sharks are clearly already licking their lips in anticipation of massive profits to be made. The casino will be part of a 260 million "leisure and entertainment village", including sports facilities, restaurants, a hotel and a nightclub. But will these be accessible to local working-class people?

There is a dire need for youth facilities, good and affordable housing, libraries, and other public services. But all people see is luxury developments and further cuts, like the recently announced slaughter of Manchester's local health services.

GamCare, a charity for people harmed by gambling dependency, had a 41% increase in the number of people using its counselling services between 2004 and 2005. The planned 1,250 slot machines are said by opposition campaigners to be especially addictive.

A YouGov poll showed 56% of people believe new casinos are a bad idea as they would increase 'problem gambling' and worsen social problems such as debt and family breakdown. The only people likely to gain any long term benefits will be the fat cat bosses of the big businesses now competing to run the casino.

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In The Socialist 7 February 2007:

BLAIR MUST GO!

Sold to big business

Can the Left reclaim Labour?

Merseyside Campaign for a new workers' party

Website of the Campaign for a New Workers' Party


Civil servants' strike

Interview with Mark Serwotka: "This is just the beginning of the campaign"

Welsh strikers close down Assembly


Socialist Party NHS campaign

Anger at union leaders' timidity

Manchester nurses strike against health cuts


Environment

Change the system not the climate!

Bush's bio-fuel bull


Socialist Party news and analysis

Has Manchester struck it lucky?


Socialist Party campaigns

Camden council blames cuts on 'spending gap'

Don't privatise social housing!

Tenants pay when things go wrong

Coventry - a victory for determination


Socialist Party Marxist analysis

Rising anger and discontent in Europe


International socialist news and analysis

Darfur - another failure of Western 'conflict resolution'

Sri Lanka: Keep up the protests


Socialist Party Marxist analysis

The writing on the Chinese wall


Workplace news

Stop the Valentine's Day pay massacre !

Striking back at the privateers

Corus deal threatens new cost-cutting

Cabin crew angry over BA deal

May Day greetings


 

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