Friday, March 30, 2007

Casino's

My apologies for lack of postings, life has a way of teaching each one of us our priorities, and mine over the last few weeks have not been about blogging.

However one is, shall we say back in the saddle, so with no further ado, let us begin.

I have refrained from commenting in the past about the proposed super casino's, not out of apathy or dis-interest, but my mother was involved in a small way in BCAGE (Blackpool Coalition Against Gambling Expansion) and I considered it to be a slight hindrance to have a family member involved in something I wished to blog about. Plus I preferred to see how the government could cock up this plan, just as badly as many of the other quick fixes they appear to be extremely fond of. As we already know there have been more pressing things going on in the bloggosphere.

On the whole, I am not against gambling, I have visited casino's in the past and may do so in the future. I tend to restrict my gambling to the Grand National, the Pools and the lottery, I don't do horse racing or dogs, nor do I do one armed bandits.

Tessa Jowell has staked her reputation on bringing in a Super Casino, which seems innocuous enough, until one actually looks and ponders the reasons. Supposedly the one Super Casino should have gone to Blackpool, but was instead given to Manchester.

Having resided in both places I feel that my comments do have some small amount of merit.

Manchester has to all intents and purposes re-invented itself, it has with the help of massive amounts of public and private money, reclaimed land and buildings. It has redefined Manchester City Centre has made it appear more cosmopolitan. The city centre has changed almost beyond recognition, with new high rises, street cafes, new restaurants and shops in abundance being built. It is now seen as the second city of the UK ahead of Birmingham, who it has to be said have not taken it lying down and are beginning their own revamp and renewal. So Manchester has a lot going for it, it already has a few casino's, which on the whole are well utilised and visited, mainly by the biggest nation of gamblers the Chinese. One could argue that as it has the largest group of Chinese outside of London, then Manchester is already ready with the biggest collective group of gamblers.

Blackpool has lost its way over the years, it now does not know what it is anymore, in days gone by the annual wakes weeks were a boon with thousands of mill workers from Oldham, Blackburn, Wigan, Burnley and other Northern towns, travelling to the coast on their annual pilgrimage to get some sea and sand. These annual holidays made Blackpool and other northern resorts. As the years passed the wakes weeks came to die out aided with the advent of packaged holidays,cheaper travel, and cheaper flights meant it was affordable for the working man to travel to benidorm and the Costa Del sol, where you were guaranteed the sun, something that Blackpool could not boast. The hotels and guest houses remained and fought for a reducing number of clients. Until today, the majority of these clients are now day trippers, who come for a day out. The mainstay of the hotels and guest houses today are the "Stag and Hen" do's, which has helped to drive away the families, from what once was Britain's premier family resort. Stagnation, lack of investment have all taken a toll on Blackpool. There have been some recent changes, some modernisation, the new gateway to Blackpool has actually begun to improve the area. However lacking any serious industry, all that Blackpool appears to offer is masses of under used hotels/guest houses Blackpool's main employer is the local Civil Service, with some of the largest departments based in or around the Fylde Coast. The Land Registry, Stocks and Bonds, Disability Living Allowance and War Pensions to name a few.

I wish to know why the government have tied in with these regeneration plans for both areas, the idea of a Super Casino. How can building a large casino help to regenerate an area. Once the initial building work has finished and those construction workers have moved on to their next build. How many jobs will a casino create? a couple of hundred. Hazel Blears on Question Time last night stated that it would create over 100 jobs. Not a lot of jobs to go around for the unemployed are being created with a casino then! Plus having lived in both areas, I cannot believe that unless you are extremely good looking, you are going to get one of the good jobs. The majority of service jobs created will be on the service side, cleaners, kitchen staff, car parking attendants. Not exactly well paid areas of work. The Croupiers and bar staff will all be good looking people, to help attract the clientele.

Notwithstanding all these proposals, one has only to listen to the people of Atlantic City or Las Vegas, to be able to follow and understand that casino's help no one. They attract Prostitution, racketeering, money laundering, drugs, crime and the most unsavoury of characters all drawn to the money like moths to a candle.

Sure relax the gambling laws, allow slightly larger regional casino's or allow the casino's already in the towns to expand and offer larger prizes. But to imagine that one Super casino will bring any benefit to whatever area it is in, is surely a very misguided one!

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1 Comments:

Blogger james higham said...

Nice take on a bygone era, lfb.

6:08 pm  

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