UK Casino Advisory Panel’s ‘Tour of Great Britain’
by Marc Etches

UK Casino Advisory Panel's "Tour of Great Britain"


The UK Government expects the Gambling Act 2005 to be fully implemented by September 2007, almost eight years since Sir Alan Budd's Gambling Review. This modernising legislation will tighten regulations around betting and the internet, and allow the development of the UK's first "resort" casino.

The Budd Report proposed legislative changes that would permit resort casinos, defining one as "a complex which includes hotel rooms, restaurants, bars, performance space, possibly conference facilities and, most important, a range of gambling facilities". Las Vegas operators refer to such casinos simply as integrated entertainment complexes.

The subsequent parliamentary Joint Committee on the Draft Gambling Bill, led by Conservative MP, John Greenway supported the concept of a "destination" casino and recommended increasing the required minimum non-gambling area so as to cause the market to "limit the likely number…to somewhere around 20 to 25".

The Department of Culture, Sport and Media rejected this and settled on statutorily limiting the number of "regional" casinos to eight before consenting to a Conservative demand to reduce the number to one on the eve of the 2005 General Election.

A year ago, Tessa Jowell, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport instructed an Independent Advisory Panel, chaired by Professor Stephen Crow, to recommend where the first "regional" casino would best be located.

The Panel's primary task is to ensure that the location satisfies the need for the best possible test of social impact. The Panel has also to consider areas in need of regeneration. Local authorities have to demonstrate an overall willingness to have a regional casino within their communities.

On 24 May, Professor Crow and his colleagues announced a short-list of eight locations culled from twenty-seven original local authority applicants. Having received written submissions from each location, the Panel recently conducted "evidence in public" sessions to listen to local arguments for and against. Brent Council withdrew its application five days prior to its planned session.


Rationale: A tourism-based economy that urgently needs a powerful catalyst to "kick-start" private sector led regeneration with the potential to act as a national tourism project with a cluster of casinos should the opportunity arise in the future.

Where: The Conference Leisure Quarter, adjacent to the Promenade in central Blackpool. The town has a local population 143,000 and 2.3m people living within one hour drive time.

Regeneration: The Northwest Development Agency has established the Urban Regeneration Company, ReBlackpool: the only URC with a remit to deliver casino gambling as a keystone to its wider regeneration strategy.

Investment: Between £200m and £450m

Potential Economic Impact: Up to 5.5 million visits and 2500-3400 jobs generating between £62m and £96m of Gross Value Added (GVA) locally

Operator Interest: UK-based operators (Stanley Genting, Hilton/Ladbrokes, Rank, London Clubs International, and Aspers), US operators (Las Vegas Sands, Isle of Capri, Harrah's Entertainment Inc., Resorts International and Mohecan Sun) and South African operator (Sun International) have lodged formal interest.

National Popularity: 38% of UK Adults chose Blackpool from the CAP "shortlist" (Populus, July 2006)


Rationale: A regional casino will be the catalyst for the completion of the International Sports Village will enable Cardiff to play a full part as a core city supporting the 2012 London Olympics, and secure Cardiff’s position as an international visitor destination.

Where: Cardiff Bay. Cardiff is the capital city of Wales, has a local population of 316,800 and 2.4m people living within a 1 hour drive from the city centre.

Regeneration: 50,000 Cardiff residents live in the 10% most deprived localities in Wales according to the 2005 Welsh Index of Multiple Deprivation and some 56,000 Cardiff residents live in the 10% most deprived localities in Wales in terms of Income Deprivation.

Investment: Current proposal - £190m

Potential Economic Impact: 3 million visits and 1500 jobs generating £65m of GVA locally

Operator Interest: Orion Land and Leisure Limited (developer) and Aspers (casino operator selected in June 2005)

National Popularity: 3% of UK Adults chose Cardiff from the CAP "shortlist" (Populus, July 2006)


Rationale: A regional casino development is an opportunity to bring a new dimension to Glasgow’s regeneration and social renewal strategies, adding fresh impetus to its success as a national and international tourism destination. It will also boost the City's bid for the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

Where: Key regeneration priority areas in the riverside/city centre close to a major facility such as football stadia or exhibition centres. Glasgow is Britain’s fourth largest city with a local population of 585,000 and 2.1m people living within a 1 hour drive from the city centre.
Regeneration: Glasgow has 82% of the worst areas of deprivation in Scotland, with one in three people living in poverty compared to one in eight in Scotland as a whole.

Investment: Current proposals range between £120 and £250m

Potential Economic Impact: 3.2 million visits and 1272 jobs generating £26m of GVA locally

Operator Interest: Several leading international casino operators and developers, including Las Vegas Sands (Ibrox), Kerzner International (SECC), MGM MIRAGE (Glasgow Harbour), and Miller Developments (St Enoch)

National Popularity: 6% of UK Adults chose Glasgow from the CAP "shortlist" (Populus, July 2006)


Rationale: A regional casino will help to create a model of sustainable tourism in Greenwich and the Thames Gateway contributing to the long-term economic legacy of the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Without the casino development the hotel, a wider range of outlets, the Tutankhamen exhibit and a theatre housing a resident show similar to those operated around the world by Cirque du Soleil are unlikely to be developed.

Where: The O2 (formally the Millennium Dome) on the Greenwich Peninsular, London. Greenwich has a local population of 226,000 and 7.5m people living within Greater London.

Regeneration: With pockets of prosperity but high levels of deprivation, Greenwich ranks 41 of 354 local authorities in England and sits within the Thames Gateway area, a national priority for regeneration

Investment: £320m

Potential Economic Impact: 1.7 million visits and 1400 jobs generating £95m of GVA locally

Operator Interest: Kerzner International is already the chosen partner for the developer, Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG)

National Popularity: 14% of UK Adults chose Greenwich from the CAP "shortlist" (Populus, July 2006)


Rationale: Manchester is in the top 50 globally as a business conference destination, it is now the third most visited city in the UK. A regional casino will complement and extend the range of cultural and leisure facilities that the city offers, thereby sustaining the continued growth of the tourism and leisure sector of Manchester's economy.

Where: Sportcity, East Manchester where the 2002 Commonwealth Games was centred. Manchester has a resident population of 500,000 and 10m within a one hour drive from the city centre.

Regeneration: Manchester has one of the fastest growing economies but with continuing high levels of poverty and deprivation; it ranks 3rd worst in the Index of Multiple Deprivation for English local authorities. New East Manchester was one of the UK's first Urban Regeneration Companies.

Investment: Upwards of £260m

Potential Economic Impact: 4 million visits and 1500 jobs generating £96m of GVA locally

Operator Interest: Kerzner International was selected in 2004 although Manchester will convene a new com

Date Posted: 11-Oct-2006

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