Tickets for the London 2012 Olympic Games cease to be available at midnight tonight but as with any large scale project problems are afoot at the Olympic site in Stratford. When it comes to the gambling industry, it would be safe to say that the sports books are probably creaming themselves at the prospect of the games being on the doorstep of the centre of the iGaming universe, London. The casino industry is the latest to be embroiled in a row over the games though.
Entertainment firm Aspers was awarded a high-profile casino license to operate what will be the UK’s largest casino on the site of Westfield Stratford City adjacent to the Olympic site. Newham Council’s decision to grant the license is to be subject of a judicial review after the other two bidders raised questions about the process.
Great Easter Quays Casino (GEQ) are angered by the process taking place “behind closed doors” and the other company involved, Apollo, are likely to launch a second judicial review in the coming days.
Fergus Kinloch, director of City & Eastern, the developer of the site which incorporated GEQ’s casino, was quoted in the Guardian as saying: “We firmly believe that Newham council failed to comply with the proper processes relating to the bid.”
“Regeneration, which by law should lie at the very heart of any successful casino bid, quite simply appears not to have been taken into account, or worse, swept under the carpet by Newham council when deciding on which bid to select. It is now clear to us that any proposal that was genuinely regenerative never stood a chance of winning the competition.”
No one was available for comment from Aspers but any process is likely to be resolved fairly quickly as the centre opens on September 13 and Westfield aren’t likely to want it to drag on for much longer. There are also reports that Aspers want to watch Newcastle chairman Mike Ashley lose buckets loads of wonga at yet another of their establishments.