Sunday 25 September 2011

Government’s new bill will block plans for Twomileborris ‘super-casino’

THE GOVERNMENT has confirmed plans to prepare an overhaul of Ireland’s gambling laws – in a move that will block the inclusion of a so-called ‘super-casino’ in Twomileborris, Co Tipperary.

Justice minister Alan Shatter said that the government had given him approval to work on new legislation modernising Ireland’s betting laws, to address a number of shortcomings in the current legislation.

In a statement, however, Shatter said the new legislation would not provide for “large resort-style casinos, such as have been proposed by some promoters”.
The laws would create provisions for more medium-sized developments, however.
“The number will be limited and every application will be subjected to vigorous checks, including deep and extensive checks on the promoters.”

“Only those promoters meeting high standards of personal and financial probity will be considered for a licence,” Shatter said.

Larger casino developments would “attract other activities that are not desirable and pose a particular risk to vulnerable people”, leading to an overall negative social impact.

Provision for more modest developments would be allowed, Shatter said, because the government had recognised the public’s support for “some form of casino entertainment”.

The casino element of the Twomileborris development had been dependant on a reform of gambling laws, which had been anticipated to liberalise the current rules which limit casinos to members-only status.
Shatter clarified on this lunchtime’s News at One that the number of tables proposed for the Tipperary complex – around 2,000 – would be deemed beyond the numbers allowed under the new legislation.
Casinos with 500 tables would also be considered too large, he said, indicating that the government would not provide for casinos larger than the private members’ clubs already in existence here.

An Bord Pleanála had given approval for the ambitious development in June, approving almost all elements of the proposed complex in Co Tipperary.

Aside from the ‘super-casino’, the complex is to include a 500-bedroom hotel, a racetrack, golf course and full-size replica of the White House.

The board had deemed proposals for a 15,000-seater music venue to be “inappropriate”. North Tipperary County Council had previously given its approval to the entire plans.
The overall development, estimated to cost €30m, was intended to create 1,000 construction jobs and to employ another 2,000 people upon completion.

A spokesperson for developer Richard Quirke, who is behind the plans for Twomileborris, said Quirke would meet his team later this week to discuss his response to the decision.

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