Leeds ‘supercasino’ profits will fund help for gambling addicts

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A MULTI-MILLION pound ‘social fund’ from Leeds’s new supercasino will be used to fund support groups for gambling addicts and fight poverty in the city.

Global Gaming Ventures - which won the licence to run the casino last year - has promised to pump at least £450,000 a year into the community pot, to add to a £1 million upfront payment it has already made to Leeds City Council.

The casino will form part of the new Victoria Gate development in the city centre, and is expected to open in May 2016.

Bosses have promised a percentage of their annual takings will go into “projects that mitigate potential harmful social effects of gambling,” as well as anti-poverty work.

A report to be debated by Leeds City Council’s decision-making executive board tomorrow says: “It was agreed that the upfront payment is to be invested in initiatives that support the city’s anti-poverty priorities over the three-year period prior to the opening of the casino, and that annual payments be used to fund projects that mitigate potential harmful social effects of the large casino and more general social inclusion priorities across the city.”

The authority has drawn up a list of projects that could be funded, including “work with gambling support groups, problem gambling and addiction”.

The report says that £200,000 of the upfront payment has already been used to cover the council’s costs of running the process over the last four years.

The remaining £800,000 will be used to fund projects and initiatives over the next three years which will support the city’s “anti-poverty agenda”.

The report adds that from the first anniversary of the opening of the casino, the establishment will pay the “greater sum” of either £450,000 annually or four percent of its net gaming revenue into these projects.

Other initiatives under consideration include the setting up of a Leeds ‘responsible gaming forum’, and a committee monitoring the social impact of large casino operations.

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PIC: Simon Hulme

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