Thursday, March 23, 2006

Gambling Brum's Future Away

It has not been a good week for the Second-City Blues. After losing to Tottenham 2-0 at home on Saturday, the council decided to back the NEC bid over the City of Birmingham stadium for the rights to hold the regional casino, and then they crashed out of the FA Cup to Liverpool losing 7-0, the worst defeat in 48 years.

Off the pitch I cannot understand the council's decision. Well actually I can - Birmingham City Council have a vested interest in the National Exhibition Centre. It is losing money hand-over-fist (particularly since it lost the International Motor Show) and they see the casino as a way of resurrecting the facility. They claim the decision was made because an out-of-town site would discourage addictive gambling - but Birmingham City Council backing a site in Solihull seems rather daft to me, particularly when you consider the opposition the Borough mustered when plans for a national stadium were to be developed there.

In any case these super-casinos were supposed to regenerate inner-city areas. Are the Government really going to give the licence to a site in the middle of suburbia? Birmingham was in need of a World Class stadium to rival the new Wembley and the two in Manchester, but the Cons-Lib council have bottled it again. I was never a fan of the old Labour administration, but some of the decisions made by the "odd-couple" seem to be based in fantasy rather than reality.

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