UK Casinos: Does Size Matter?

TAGs: Editorial, Lee Davy, Royal Pier Waterfront Development, super casino

UK Casinos, does size matter?Does size really matter?

Well according to most women it most certainly does. The super-sized men bringing more throes of delight than those that are deemed large; and the ones unfortunate enough to be branded as small barely raising a squeak. A thriving casino is no different to a woman in waiting. Throes of delight are right up there on a wish list that includes – amongst other things – a ‘ton of money.’ So for the casino business it too has a great interest in the difference between: super, large and small. For the casino business size also matters.

Southampton City Council is pumping £450 million into the Royal Pier Waterfront Development. It is an ambitious project with the goal of bringing employment, revenue and joy to one of the only cities in the U.K to get some regular sunshine. With the project sailing towards success, the figurehead of this particular ship seems to be the construction of a new casino complex. The news sources breaking the story are all united in their conclusion that Southampton will become the second Super Casino to open in the U.K, after Aspers opened their new casino in Stratford, Newham in December 2011.

“The casino is the cornerstone of the development and 3,000 jobs could come with it all. For the first time in Southampton’s recent history we are reconnecting the waterfront to the city center. It will become an area that people will come to for the weekend – they will take in a show at The Mayflower Theatre, have a night at the casino, stay in a hotel and shop in the city center. That’s part of the vision we’re talking about.” Council cabinet member, Simon Lettes, told The Southern Daily Echo.

Aspers Casino in Stratford, Newham, may be big, bold and beautiful but it doesn’t fall under the definition of Super. Well not under the definition provided by the Labour Government back in post Millennium years, when the Gambling Act 2005 was born. Back in those days the Labour Government revealed plans to open 40 Las Vegas style Super Casinos across the U.K. The pasty-faced, fish and chip eating gambler was wetting his knickers. But then the anti-gambling lobbyists, church groups and even the Labour Government themselves (29 of them voted against the original proposal) pulled out their pitchforks and the number dwindled to just eight. Well that’s not too bad? Well what about just one, because just as the bill was being passed through the slippery fingers of Parliament, it was decided to choose just one Super Casino as a test bed. The U.K gambling man changed his knickers and carried on with his fish supper unperturbed.

It was a showdown in the North West as the wet and windy Blackpool fought it out with the…err…wet and windy Manchester, to become the first location to be granted a license to build a Super Casino. With Blackpool being the U.K’s version of a much damper, cheaper and all round shittier version of Las Vegas it was the bookies favorite. But Manchester proved its red football team is not the only thing in the city that can conjure up last minute miracles when it came up trumps. That was until Gordon Brown became the new Prime Minister and told his house to forget all about that Super Casino nonsense. We can build some extra museums instead.

The government definition of a Super Casino is one that has a minimum customer area of 5,000 Sq. m and 1,250 unlimited jackpot slot machines. A Large Casino is defined as 1,000 Sq. m, 150 slot machines and a £4,000 maximum jackpot. A Small Casino is defined as 750 Sq. m, 80 slot machines and a jackpot of £4,000. Despite banishing all thoughts of a Super-Duper-Casino, the government did issue licenses to eight locations granting them the right to build Large Casinos: Great Yarmouth, Hull, Leeds, Middlesborough, Milton Keynes, Newham, Solihull and Southampton.

So far, only one of those licenses has actually turned into anything other than a thought. That belongs to Newham and it has been transformed from a license into a casino that now houses 150 slot machines, 92 electronic betting terminals, 40 table games and a 150-seater poker room; all conveniently located on the third floor of the largest urban shopping mall in Europe. Now that’s pretty impressive…but it isn’t Super.

So it does look likely that Southampton will become the second casino to turn its license into something tangible. But it will be a Large Casino and not a Super Casino that will spearhead the new Royal Pier Waterfront. The Southern Daily Echo believes that a dozen applicants have already been in touch with the local council and they include Aspers.

So does size really matter?

Yes it bloody does. We want our Las Vegas style Super Casino firmly planted into the ground at: Wembley Stadium, The O2 Arena, Cardiff, Blackpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Sheffield or Glasgow. Large casinos are great, and greatly received, but they don’t have the size to create the throes of delight that something Super does now do they?


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