Milton Keynes casino funds help for gambling addicts

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More than a million pounds has been docked from the profits of the city’s casino – to fund support for gambling ADDICTS.

When MK Council granted Aspers licence five years ago it put an annual levy in place called ‘Vulnerable Gamblers Contribution’.

It means Aspers must pay up to £200,000 a year into the fund. This week the council heard the total sum gathered so far is £1.16m.

The money has paid for a counselling service contract through Mind BLMK to provide help for people with a range of issues, including gambling problems and addictive behaviour.

One casino user said: “It seems strange that money from a casino, which encourages gambling, is used to help people who become addicted to gambling. But these people would probably use other means to gamble if the casino wasn’t here in MK.”

Under the licence condition, Aspers must also pay the council a minimum contribution of £500,000 a year plus a hefty percentage of any casino profits totalling more than £500,000.

This year this percentage payment was £297,000, and the cash went into the council’s general fund as well as the RegenerationMK programme and a neighbourhood employment scheme.

So far the employment scheme has supported 324 people into finding jobs.

MK Council officers analysed the financial benefits of Aspers Casino in a report presented to councillors on the Licensing Committee.

As well as the financial contributions, Aspers have provided 152 jobs for lcoal people.

“There remains an ongoing commitment to recruit locally as vacancies arise,” stated the report.

Aspers also has contracts with 33 local business covering services such as marketing and taxis.