Churches hold talks with casino operator

Monday 18th January 2021

Rank Group, one of the four national operators keen to bring a large casino to the city, met Christian and Jewish representatives from the Southampton Council of Faiths and Southampton Churches Together.

The gambling giant has denied trying to win over the clergy but some are thought to have softened their views on the extent to which the casino would lead to a rise in problem gambling, debt, alcoholism and other social ills, particulary among the poor.

The city council is among 31 authorities shortlisted to be given one of eight large casino licences by the Government.

It would have 150 machines with a maximum prize of £4,000 - about three times that of the present Grosvenor Casino in West Quay Road.

Meeting chairman the Rev Gary Philbrick, of South-ampton Churches Together said that there was a range of differing views but "some people had some of their fears allayed".

"We are more concerned with other parts of the night-time economy such as binge drinking," he said.

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