In a letter to the scottish and welsh executives, prime minister Gordon Brown confirmed that he would axe the first Las Vegas-style supercasino in Manchester – but now says he plans to open another 16 gambling palaces and 88 smaller ones.
Ministers had promised there would be "no more than 150" small casinos in the UK if the laws were liberalised – but now admit it could be 250.
"This is recklessness," reacted Dr Emanuel Moran, an adviser on pathological gambling for the Royal College of Psychiatrists. "We are seeing serious problems because of an increase in internet gambling and spread-betting. It will only get worse if we open more."
Ganbling experts fear the casinos will trigger addiction, crime, family breakdown and poverty in rundown neighbourhoods.