After years of controversy and speculation, Leeds is set to announce where its new Vegas-style super-casino is going to be located and who’s going to run it.
Over six years since the city was granted a licence to run one of the UK’s first “large casinos”, councillors are meeting on Monday and Tuesday (13th/14th May) to decide which of two remaining applicants is going to win the jackpot.
Their decision will be made public when the committee reconvenes on Friday (17th May).
When the bidding started last year, there were five firms in the running. By early March this year, only three were left.
Then, in a shock move, London Clubs International withdrew their application to site the casino at Clarence (New) Dock and shut down the Alea casino they’d been running there for 5 years, muttering darkly as they went that “financial and other burdens” attached to the licence were “excessive” and “not sustainable”.
So, it’s now a straight fight between Leeds United – who want to put the casino in the West Stand at Elland Road – and Global Ventures Ltd, who plan to put it into the swanky new Eastgate (Victoria Gate) development that’s going to be built in Leeds city centre.
Take the cash
So how’s this new casino going to be benefiting the people of Leeds – those of us who aren’t going to be down there every day trying our luck on the 150 slot machines and the rest?
Well, it’ll no doubt give us even more of what is officially known as “vitality and vibrancy” – more than what we’ve already got and are promised for the city …
And there’s bound to be a statement knocking around somewhere detailing how the casino promotes our leaders’ ambition to become the most child-friendly city in the UK (I just haven’t found it yet).
But, most importantly, what the casino will give us is cash.
How much? No-one’s saying, obviously, but chief exec Mike Ingall of New Dock’s owners Allied London told the Yorkshire Evening Post the council was asking for “quite a healthy contribution” from whoever ends up running the casino.
Justcasinos.co.uk is more forthright: “It is expected that … whichever company the council decides is most worthy will be paying 25% of the super-casino’s annual takings right back into the council’s coffers”.
How much does a super-casino take a year? £20m? £50m? £100m? Who knows.
Feel a bit of Wreckless Eric coming on … let’s see the colour of their money.