24 casino open

Local officials gave permission to the Aspers Group to accommodate a 24-hour casino in Bournemouth’s new £50 million complex on Exeter Road.

The two-floor venue which is expected to open next month, will feature a range of slots, tables, gaming machines and a VIP area.

The Asper’s Group already possesses a gaming license to operate in Bournemouth and it now holds 3 casinos in the town.

Under the proposals – set out in a consultation document by the Department for Culture last year – the standard opening hours for all casinos will require them to close between 6am and noon each day.

At present, casinos have to close between 6am and 2pm six days a week and 4am and 2pm on Saturdays.

However, the rules go on to give casinos the power to apply to their local authority for permission to extend their opening hours up to 24 hours a day.

"All casinos will of course have the opportunity of asking for the default hours to be changed when they apply for licences," the document said.

Critics warned that this will be seized on by operators who will seek permission to open round-the-clock.

They said that the local authorities who grant licences will have lobbied hard to win the right to open a casino in their area and will therefore be more inclined to approve applications for longer hours.

They also voiced concern that casinos may also be able to secure licences to serve alcohol 24 hours a day.

The new rules are a key element of Labour's overhaul of the gambling industry, which will see the location of Britain's first "super-casino" – along with the sites of a further eight large and eight small casinos – being unveiled on January 30 by the Government's advisory panel.

Dr Emanuel Moran, an adviser on pathological gambling to the Royal College of Psychiatrists, warned that 24 hour opening would be disastrous.