A government u-turn on the new gambling bill could mean good news for pubs.
It is understood that ministers want to link any new casino developments to regeneration projects in deprived areas.
This could mean a restriction on the number of new casino openings, meaning less competition for pubs. It had been feared that the relaxation of the gambling laws could hit the income of small pubs.
Last month the British Beer & Pub Association said it thought the government proposals would boost the multi-million pound "hard gambling" casino market while introducing further regulations on the social gambling enjoyed in pubs.
The draft bill, which is being presented to Parliament, will allow pubs to have two fruit machines automatically and more under licence.
Pubs and clubs that run bingo games worth £1,000 a week or more must obtain a licence from the Gambling Commission.
In November last year Tessa Jowell, secretary of state for culture, media and sport, indicated that the government is reluctant to allow more than the current two machines per bar.
A survey conducted for Business in Sport and Leisure at the end of last year revealed that 80 per cent of people wanted more opportunities to gamble and 76 per cent favoured more machines in pubs and clubs.