"We are aware of the concerns that people have with the Gambling Bill, and we will be watching developments closely. We are encouraged that a regulator will be appointed and we hope that the new Gambling Commission will have strong powers to monitor and control the activities of any casino development in England. We welcome the requirements of the Gambling Bill to contribute to support and welfare networks.
The Council will, of course, have to consider any application for a casino in the city on its individual merits and in the context of any national legislation if a new gambling bill is passed.
However there is an opportunity for a combination of leisure and entertainment facilities that has the potential to bring significant benefit to the residents and visitors to the city with up to 1000 jobs for our residents through first class leisure facilities including an arena and two ice rinks.
We would want to ensure that any development of this kind will bring the maximum benefits to our residents, whilst minimising any avoidable risks. If approved, we will be working closely with partners to ensure that the concerns of our residents are taken into consideration, and that such a facility contributes effectively to the long-term vision for our city.
The Council has already selected Bravo as the arena developers and they have proposed the casino operator Ameristar as an enabler for the project. There is space in the area to accommodate a combined complex. A casino will underpin the deliverability of a multi purpose indoor arena with ice rink in the city, which is dependent on considerable investment.
We shall be writing to the relevant government offices and any other relevant bodies setting out this position and offering an opportunity to visit Southampton to see for themselves the ideal opportunity to deliver very quickly the full potential for regeneration of a city centre that the legislation seeks to achieve."