London’s International Private Members Club has had its gaming permit revoked by Hackney Council for allegedly allowing too much poker (a contradiction in terms, surely) to go on under its roof. The joint applied for its license three years ago, claiming that its 11,000-members enjoyed such gentlemanly diversions as chess, backgammon, bridge, billiards and, yes, poker. But the Hackney Gazette reports that an 18-month investigation by a Gambling Commission licensing enforcement team concluded that poker was the principal activity going on at the International, which the investigators claimed showed a ‘disregard’ for the terms of the permit. The 12-member committee that runs the International claim there was no chicanery on their part; they simply couldn’t have predicted that poker would become so popular. As such, they are appealing the revocation, but while it’s pending, they can’t serve any alcohol.
As one bottle closes, another door opens. The 65,000-sq.-ft. Aspers Casino at Westfield Stratford City in Newham, London opens for business today, offering 150 slot machines, 80 electronic betting terminals, 40 gaming tables and a 150-seat poker room. The Aspers brings 440 new jobs to the region, on the fringe of Olympic Park. Aspers COO Richard Noble told Intergame that the facility would have a lasting impact on the region, “and the more vibrant we can make the area the more chance we have of achieving a legacy.”
While the Aspers qualifies as a ‘large’ casino under the UK’s 2005 Gambling Act, National Casino Industry Forum chairman Malcolm Moss says the country isn’t likely to see a ‘super casino’ anytime soon. Moss told Intergame that once former PM Gordon Brown scuttled plans to build a 1,250-slots facility in Manchester, there doesn’t appear to be a viable route for launching a venue that surpasses the Act’s 150-slots limit. “Why do we have to be specific? There’s a hell of a difference between 150 and 1,250 machines. There could be something with perhaps more machines than 150 without it being just a huge machine shed.” (This sounds like a mission for Arthur ‘Two Sheds’ Jackson.)
London Clubs International, the Caesars Entertainment offshoot that manages casinos in the UK and Europe (including London’s new Playboy Club), has tapped YourCash Ltd. to upgrade the ATMs in its gaming facilities. YourCash already supplied ATMs to LCI, but the contract was opened up for bids this time around. We’re sure YourCash’s threat to divulge all the pin numbers of LCI execs had absolutely nothing to do with them getting the contract renewal. (We kid, we kid.)