Not long after Middlesbrough was named as one of the UK cities to be granted a Large Casino Licence in 2007, a considerable furore developed among its politicians, business community and other interested parties regarding the suitability of such a project.
A report carried out by MPs, however, has concluded that the risks are outweighed by the benefits and that gambling in general is now considerably more acceptable in the United Kingdom and should therefore be less heavily regulated.
The report will no doubt please staff at Jomast Developments, who have been awarded the £25m contract that Ray Mallon – the local mayor - believes will help make the city into a "destination" for the 6.5m people residing within an hour and a half of the new casino.
The main opposition to the project, unsurprisingly, comes from the church, with the Right Reverend Martin Warner, the Bishop of Whitby advising that a new casino will lead the inhabitants of Middlebrough and its outskirts into spiralling misery, though with online gaming becoming increasingly commonplace he will no doubt find it increasingly harder to persuade others to share his views.
John Whittingdale, chairman of the Common's Culture Committee, believes that existing gaming legislation in the UK is permeated by a "reluctantly permissive" tone that now looks completely outdated. Whittingdale expressed his belief that, as always, it will be business interests that invariably prevail, though if the UK gaming industry can do more to portray gambling as an enjoyable, occasional treat rather than as a source of income then it will help itself considerably.