Casino cap causes planning chaos

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Overseas casino operators who have already ploughed hundreds of thousands of pounds into securing sites said yesterday that the Government's decision to cap the initial number of Las Vegas-style resorts to eight had left them in total confusion.

Overseas casino operators who have already ploughed hundreds of thousands of pounds into securing sites said yesterday that the Government's decision to cap the initial number of Las Vegas-style resorts to eight had left them in total confusion.

Government officials have still to work out who will decide where the eight casinos will go, who will operate them and how they will arrive at their decisions. Nearly 20 formal agreements for supercasino developments have already been announced, with at least three put forward for different locations in Glasgow, three announced in Sheffield, and three announced in London. Although all the potential deals have been subject to the Gambling Bill being passed through Parliament, industry commentators reckon overseas companies have spent hundreds of thousands of pounds in planning and development costs so far.

It is thought unlikely that any region will have more than one supercasino, and what will happen to existing agreements is unclear. Sun International, the South African casino group that has announced a planned development at Sheffield's Don Valley stadium, yesterday called on the Government to start the process of allocating sites from scratch, to disregard any existing agreements and to open up a new tendering process for the eight regions.

Peter Byrne, of Sun International, said: "We have to have an open and transparent process ... It has to be on a totally level playing field, with central, regional and local authorities in charge."

MGM Mirage, which has promised to invest more than £1bn in the UK, has warned it may withdraw if the cap was in the single digits.

Las Vegas Sands, which had planned to develop supercasinos beside football clubs, said it was still committed to the UK.

Comments