South West Wales

Swansea council considers ban on new casinos

Roulette wheel Image copyright PA
Image caption Swansea council's plans would be in force for three years if approved

Casinos could be banned from opening in Swansea under plans to curb gambling.

The city's council has already capped the number of sex entertainment venues to "nil" and limited the number of bars in the city centre.

Swansea's main casino, Aspers, shut in 2012 saying the £13m venue was not commercially viable - leaving just one other in the city.

In 2005, Swansea was one of eight UK cities to be granted a small casino licence under legislation passed.

Cabinet members at Swansea council will discuss a proposed amendment to its licensing policy on Tuesday that could mean no new licences for casinos would be allowed in the city.

If they back the idea, it will then go out to public consultation before a final decision is made.

Cabinet member June Burtonshaw said: "The proposal to introduce a 'no casino' resolution is part of the council's anti-poverty policy and, if approved, would last for three years.

"It won't affect any existing casinos but it would mean no more would be allowed in Swansea."

She added: "Research has shown that vulnerable families, the unemployed and those living in poverty are most likely to experience the adverse effects of gambling.

"Gambling can lead to debt, divorce, crime and increase the stress of life on a low income, something which is particularly important in the current economic climate.

"Introducing a 'no casino' resolution would clearly support the council's anti-poverty policies and the work we are doing with our partners in tackling social inequality and debt in Swansea."

'Saturation point'

Last year, sex entertainment venues were banned in Swansea after councillors capped the number at "nil".

They voted to change the current policy from each application being dealt with on its own merits to one where they will "normally be refused". There are currently none in the city after the last licence ran out.

It covers lap dancing, pole dancing, table dancing, strip shows, peep shows and live sex shows.

The council also decided to restrict the number of premises allowed to sell alcohol after a report said Swansea city centre had reached "saturation point".

And last week, a bar became the first to have its bid for extended opening hours rejected since the new saturation policy was introduced.

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