Responsible gambling experts today turned the spotlight on Manchester and problem gambling.
A 14-page report into Manchester's scenario was launched by Paul Bellringer OBE, the director of Responsible Gambling Solutions and founder of Gamcare, and Professor Mark Griffiths from the International Gaming Research Unit at Nottingham Trent University.
Chief Superintendent Gerry Donnellan of Greater Manchester Police and Laura Roberts, chief executive of Manchester primary care trust also endorsed the research.
The report examines Manchester's approach to combatting problem gambling and emphasises that the development of a regional casino will be highly regulated and is not likely to increase problem gambling, whereas the real threat comes from the growth of internet gambling.
The report recommends a number of measures Manchester could adopt to strengthen its licensing and social responsibility policy including:
- Increasing the age restrictions in the casino
- Requiring the operator to pilot the use of smart card technology to identify and predict problem gambling
- Requiring operators to include responsible gambling features on machines such as clocks and restrictions on playing times
- Launch a public awareness campaign on problem gambling and young people
The report concludes that Manchester's casino proposals represent the most highly regulated and controlled form of gambling. It endorses the Government's policy of piloting a regional casino and concludes that changing that policy now will do nothing to reduce problem gambling, but will jeopardise the development of measures here in Manchester to tackle the issue.
Chief Superintendent Gerry Donnellan said: "Greater Manchester Police fully supports this framework and is continuing to work closely with the council and other partners on the up and coming development of a regional casino. Manchester is without a doubt a world-class city and we are working to ensure that any casino in the area will only enhance that.
"A robust policing plan will be developed with partners to assist in combating the issues we may face in the arrival of a major leisure and tourist development.
"GMP has significant experience and success in policing large-scale events and is rated as excellent in dealing with serious and organised crime. I am confident that we have the skill, expertise and resources to deal the challenges that this development may bring."
A copy of the of the report will be available on http://www.makingmanchestersafer.com/
Jacqueline Meenan, tel 0161 234 4027