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Bord Pleanála’s Casino Oral Hearing Concluded

Casino Gambling

Architect Mr Brian O’Connell told the third day of An Bord Pleanála’s hearing into the Tipperary Casino proposed for Two Mile Borris that the project “is predicated on the licensing regime” and would depend on the present Government’s decision regarding the upgrading of Casino Laws. “There’s a new economic opportunity within the market for providing conference facilities within a casino hotel, the one wouldn’t proceed without the other” he stated.

However, he confirmed this would not affect the rest of the proposed complex, as the horse-racing aspect of the project is supported by Horse Racing Ireland, which invited expressions of interest for the development of an all-weather track in the Munster region some years ago. Existing tracks in Thurles and Tipperary (Limerick Junction) are expected to close, if this Tipperary Venue now is given the green light.

During questioning by sustainable planning expert and barrister James Nix, representing An Taisce, Mr O’Connell stated that the urban locations of venues such as the O2 in Dublin and the Odyssey Arena in Belfast were “inappropriate“, due to the influx of large numbers of people flooding into an urban setting for a short period of time. This situation now offered “strong argument” for the building of such venues outside existing city locations.

North Tipperary County Council granted planning permission for the project last year but the case was appealed to the board by some local residents and An Taisce who expressed concerns, include the level of traffic generated by this venue. Other concerns include noise, carbon emissions, helicopter use, the distance from public transport and the sustainability of such large-scale development.

However, presently across Europe, cash-broke governments have the impression that their way to reduce widening budget defecates are by taking up online gambling, a source of revenue they once viewed with justifiable distrust. Lot of European countries are currently planning to legalize online gambling and these include Greece, Switzerland, Spain, Germany, Denmark and France. Europe is the biggest online gambling market in the world and when this business is properly taxed, it will yield billions of euros to State coffers each year.

Presently large numbers of gamblers are being attracted towards Online Casino’s for the playing of Internet Poker and are moving sharply away from the land based Casino’s, as proposed for Two Mile Borris, Thurles, Co.Tipperary. This is since tax liability, in land based Casino’s is high and most of the offshore Online Casino’s remain out of reach of the dreaded tax collector. European governments are trying to bring this now indistinguishable business into the mainstream, by regulating and taxing them and bringing back worsening finances.

The Council of the  European Union last December in their ‘Conclusions on the Framework for Gambling and Betting in the EU Member States,’ reminded us that major financial contributions, in particular from State Lotteries or Lotteries licensed by competent state authorities, play an important role in society, via for example the funding of good charitable causes, as  presently with our ‘National Lottery’.  People have only, even in the best of times, limited funds for gamboling.  Their is now a real fear of the destabilizing of our state sponsored lottery, by allowing small  monopolies and private gambling operators to hijack this arena, without considering the well being of all our citizens, particularly under the guise of providing imaginary future employment and at any cost.

It is interesting also to note that those now pushing this agenda are amongst those that benefited greatly from exceptional treatment, doled out during the ‘Celtic Tiger’ era, namely those in the  Horse breeding industry, e.g. “covering fee,” which the European Commission have now deemed as an illegal form of state aid.

The hearing concluded yesterday, and a decision is expected by the end of this month.

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