Why the fixation with casinos?

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From: Neville Martin

Castledine Gardens, Sheffield S9

What is it about Labour politicians and casinos? Labour’s founding fathers would turn in their graves if they knew of their successors’ fixation with foisting these hellish establishments on the British people. We endured the ignominious attempts of Sheffield’s former Labour administration to inflict a “super-casino” on the city (prompted, it is now clear, by the gift of a pair of leather cowboy boots to the ridiculous John – now ‘Lord’ – Prescott). We now encounter yet another Labour Council endeavour to convince Sheffield’s council-tax payers of the need to impose a yoke of obsession on the feckless, weak and vulnerable.

Those of us who fought the Council’s bid to host the “super casino” remember with incredulity the economic naivety of the Labour council at the time, but once again it seems they fall for the same lame promises of jobs, injections of ‘new life’ and regeneration. These overblown claims make the developer sound like a charitable foundation. Will the council never understand that casino operations exist for one purpose, and one purpose ONLY: to extract vast sums of money from the local economy in order to finance the opulent lifestyles of their owners in places far away from the misery, squalor and crime-ridden destruction which their activities initiate?

There can never be an economic case in favour of gambling: it is unique in providing no product or benefit in exchange for its revenue. Common sense therefore dictates that in the unlikely event of the failure of the gambling moguls to extract infinitely greater amounts of revenue than their capital invested, they will view it as a financial failure and immediate closure would result. The gambling industry is built on the misery of poverty, broken homes and wrecked lives of those who provide this revenue, who are invariably those least able to resist its insidious temptations.

This great city is renowned the world over for products of distinction, quality and innovation. The purpose of this week’s MADE festival was to portray the city as one of enterprise and honest endeavour. The last thing Sheffield needs is to taint its image by adding the title of “gambling capital of the north” to its list of distinctions. We should leave the provision of sleazy gambling joints to the mafiosi of Las Vegas and Sun City. The city’s councillors should examine their consciences before voting to approve Genting’s bid.