Holyrood defers bill on gambling to Westminster

THE Scottish Parliament last night backed an Executive move to allow Westminster to legislate for Scotland in the UK Gambling Bill despite angry attacks on plans for new "super casinos".

MSPs voted by 63 to 55 to pass the Sewel motion - a convention between Westminster and Holyrood by which the Scottish Parliament formally consents to MPs legislating on devolved issues and powers.

The SNP’s chief whip Bruce Crawford branded the Scottish Liberal Democrats "hypocrites" for backing the Sewel motion while their party colleagues at Westminster had opposed the bill.

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But the Lib Dem’s deputy finance minister, Tavish Scott, insisted that gambling policy was largely reserved to Westminster and that the motion had to be passed to allow powers over licensing conditions for all premises to be devolved to Scotland.

The bill could see one of eight proposed "super-casinos" located in Scotland.

Critics fear that this would lead to greater problem gambling, particularly among the poorest groups.