A Super Casino For London?
As you may already know, it was the Manchester bid that recently won the 'Super Casino' licence offered by the government gaming authority however it seems that until the last minutes the London bid was thought to be the joint favourite (The Blackpool bid being the other joint favourite).
The government original decision was to proceed with up to seven "Super Casino" licences across the country – the shortlisted bids were from London, Blackpool, Cardiff, Newcastle, Glasgow, Manchester and Sheffield. Following the media backlash, they backtracked with their plans to the point where only one licence would initially be made available.
The London Spercasino bid was based around developing a huge casino complex situated in the site previously occupied by the Millennium dome in the London borough of Greenwich. The redeveloped site would have featured Hotels with over 500 hotel rooms, restaurants and bars, a shopping boulevard and most importantly a host of gaming tables (20 roulette tables, 30 blackjack and 50 poker tables as well and up to 1250 unlimited jackpot slot machines. The whole development must have a minimum customer area of 5,000 square meters. I'm sure you'll agree that's enough to satisfy even the most discerning gaming fan.
The negative press coverage that surrounded the relationship between John Prescott the Deputy Prime minister at the time and Philip Anschutt , the Texan Billionaire (and the owner of the Greenwich site) – do you remember the redtop headlines about our John trying to wrangle a free trip over to his friend Phil's cattle ranch.. This is very likely to have shifted the advantage away from the London Bid and allowed the Manchester bid to jump ahead at the last minute.
The Millennium dome has since been sold and renamed and reopened as the "O2" Arena. It has in a short time become a major entertainment and concert venue and has benefited from the delays which have plagued the opening of the new Wembley stadium. However, the venue itself has only had limited development while the future for development opportunities remains unclear.
However, it’s not unreasonable to suggest that in the short to medium term, as the image of the John Prescott wearing cowboy boots and a 10 gallon hat, trying to rope and brand a steer on Anscott's Cattle Ranch and the implied conflict of interest fades in the public's memory, that the possibility of further licences is proposed again.
In these circumstances, the case for a repeat London Super Casino bid is if anything an even stronger proposition.
The excellent transport links to the proposed development including the docklands light railway and the number of jobs (up to 4,000) it would bring in to an area of London with historic depravation.
The replacement of Tessa Jowell as the Secretary of State for Culture , Media and Sport by James Purnell during Gordon Brown's cabinet reshuffle in June 2007 can only help as Jowell's involvement was mired in controversy and this allows a "new broom" to revisit the compromised legislation in the Gambling Act 2005.
All in all, the future is certainly looking brighter for the possibility of a London Super Casino.