Should Norwich have a casino?
- Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2007
Could Norwich ever have a casino, and should it ever have one?
These were the questions debated by councillors as they mulled over changes to the city's gambling policy.
While the bright lights, roulette wheels and card tables may be something you would associate more with Las Vegas, Nevada than Norwich, Norfolk, it could one day become a reality.
The issue was raised by Green Party councillor Martin Schmierer, as part of debate around how the council regulates gambling.
Mr Schmierer, last year's lord mayor, proposed the council look into action to prevent one ever being opened.
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He said: "I know at the moment we do not have a casino or any plans do have one, but we do not have any type of resistance policy should an application come forward.
"I'm aware there is a glamour around them, but the reality is if you go to casinos in Yarmouth or Glasgow is quite different to, say, Monte Carlo."
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However, Labour councillor Marion Maxwell said she could see possible positives behind one.
She said "We need to keep our eye on the ball - we are losing industry and we are losing jobs.
"We do need to consider what things could lead to jobs in the city and with more and more empty sites something like a casino could fill this."
Caroline Ackroyd, Liberal Democrat councillor for Eaton, said: "I would hate to see Norwich become known for being the gambling capital of East Anglia.
"We know how much we need jobs but I would not like this to become something Norwich is known for."
Erin Fulton-McAlister, Labour councillor, requested officers conduct a study into how casinos have impacted other cities and towns before making a decision over whether to put in measures to stop one opening.
Ian Stutely, chairman of the licensing committee, added: "I agree that any decision we make should be evidence-led."
As it stands, casinos are only permitted in certain parts of the country, with special permission required from the government to licence them - under an act passed in 2005.
Great Yarmouth Borough Council is currently the only council in the region that has this permission.