As we incorrectly predicted (see: http://footballisfixed.blogspot.com/2007/01/new-labours-addiction-to-gambling.html), Manchester has won the race to be the site of the first super-casino in Britain.
Just what the second city needs - an influx of criminals, psychopaths, gamblers, money-launderers and addiction peddlers.
It appears that extensive lobbying by the Hilton Group (the parent company of Ladbrokes bookmakers) won the day - the new Hilton Hotel in Manchester City Centre is the white elephant that most people predicted but becomes prime real estate now Manchester = Las Vegas.
Additionally, government ministers believe they will be able to swiftly relax the current restrictions on super-casinos so that more than one Las Vegas style gambling resort can be built in the UK - so the Millennium Dome will eventually become a site of addictive misery too. Gambling minister Caborn claims that the "benefits" (sic) of regeneration trump the secondary issue of gambling addiction. Really?
The urban regeneration will exist of spectacular society nonsense like posh hotels and pseudo-malls together with the reclamation of private property for "civic" projects while Gamcare's offices, prostitution, the homeless and pawnbrokers will proliferate on the back streets.
The city would be better suited with real urban regeneration - affordable and abundant council accommodation, redevelopment of existing communities, a functioning health service and government money being spent on real things that affect real people.
What a nightmare!