After making extensive plans to open a supercasino in Manchester, the UK abruptly made a backtracking move giving a not so welcome surprise to Las Vegas Sands Inc executives. The Sands casino, based in Las Vegas, was planning on building the Manchester casino in partnership with the British government, but now they have revealed that their company is no longer interested in doing any business in the UK after the government unexpectedly scaled back their plans to build the supercasino in the British Isles.

“If we’d had known the game was stacked against us, we wouldn’t have wasted jet fuel going over there,” stated one of the Sands Inc executives.

"We spent a lot of time with the folks there (in Britain), trying to figure out how to do a larger style of gaming," said William Weidner, Chief Operating Officer of Las Vegas Sands, at the Reuters Travel and Leisure Summit in Los Angeles. "That didn't work. Mr. Brown pretty well shut that down."

It was Prime Minister Brown himself who pulled the plug on the deal earlier this month, much to the chagrin of casino goers all over Britain. Religious leaders in the UK have been campaigning against the opening of the casino for months and it appears that the bible thumpers won this battle. The decision will be officially announced next week in Parliament.

Brown’s government is still expected to approve the construction of 16 smaller casinos across the country. Such small scale projects will most likely not entice any big US gambling companies to invest, according to Weidner.

"The home team won. The operators there in the UK worked the system very well, so they ended up with what they wanted, what I would consider to be sub-optimal, lousy little casinos that kept them in the game and kept us out," said Weidner.

US companies such as the Las Vegas Sands, MGM Mirage and Harrah’s entertainment have been pushing the envelope of what it means to be a Vegas casino the last decade by introducing over-the-top resorts unmatched by any other casinos in the world. They are trying to do the same in Macau and will most likely put more effort into entering the Asian market since they were abruptly shut down in England.

According to Weidner, the smaller casinos that the UK is currently envisioning will not be large enough to appeal to US investors and therefore will be better suited to local operators such as Gala Coral and Rank Group.

"And so they have the worst of all worlds – now they have casinos that won't drive visitors in from further away and they'll just have larger places that take more of the money off the local people," said Weidner.

The reversal made by Gordon Brown has come in the wake of another decision made by a UK appeals court that poker is a game of “chance” and not one of skill. There are obviously strong hostilities towards gambling in England and unfortunately for UK poker players business will be conducted elsewhere.

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