|Title||Gambling with regeneration: seaside resort regeneration and casino development|
The United Kingdom’s seaside resorts are in decline. This has been addressed by various regeneration strategies. The Gambling Act 2005 threw a potential lifeline to some seaside resorts that wished to utilise casinos as cultural regeneration tools. However, this is a unique example of a regeneration lever that generates new policy processes. This thesis explores the development and passage of the casino regeneration strategy in three seaside resorts: Great Yarmouth, Scarborough and Torbay. All of these resorts had differing cultural and socio-economic contexts. Linking the perceptions of this type of cultural development demanded a specific methodology. Casinos are cultural objects and social spaces. The intersection of the cultural, economic and social demanded an overarching theoretical guide within which these perceptions could be explored. Of particular value was the work of Lefebvre in his core work on ‘The Production of Space’ (1991) and du Gay et al. ‘Circuit of Culture’ (1997).
How policymakers, business and community representatives conceived casino spaces was explored through the regulatory environment at the national, regional and local levels of governance. The perception of how casino spaces should be produced to arrive at culturally compatible representations and identities for consumption followed. It was found that the regulatory environment was experimental and confusing to some. However, most interviewees wanted to see large casino complexes developed in their towns. Potential moral, social and cultural hazards were perceived but not to have been fully considered in the government’s strategy, however the economic advantages outweighed these. This study argues that further research is required into this contested cultural activity, and the spaces that house that activity once they are built and operating.