Tuesday, 24 January 2012

A large casino could soon be on the cards for Leeds

Organisations are now able to apply for a new licence to operate one of only eight ‘large’ casinos in the country.

Leeds is one of only eight local authorities in the country with powers to grant a large casino licence, which will have a minimum area of 1,000 sq m and up to 150 slot machines with a maximum jackpot of £4,000.

Organisations who are interested in holding the licence are being invited to submit their applications to Leeds City Council after the application stage was advertised on 24 January. The opportunity is expected to generate significant interest.

Final approval was given to a revised statement of licensing policy at Leeds City Council’s full council meeting last week, which sets out the principles that it will apply in granting the licence.

The policy determines that the successful applicant will provide funding for a council administered ‘Social Inclusion Fund’, which will be used to deliver projects that help address financial, economic and social exclusion in the city.

As part of the application process, applicants will also be required to explain in detail the plans they have for their offer, which will include their plans to reduce any negative impact their development would have. They will also be required to indicate their commitment to providing employment and training for local residents.

John Mulcahy, head of licensing and registration for Leeds City Council said:
“The leisure economy already attracts thousands of visitors to Leeds, and a new large casino will add an extra dimension to the existing popular attractions in the city. The licence also has the potential to generate more jobs and investment into the area.

“We look forward to seeing proposals from potential applicants, however the council has no preferred location in mind for this facility.

“The policy we have recently agreed will ensure that whichever applicant we may choose to hold this licence will operate responsibly and without detriment to the local area.”

Last year the council carried out a three month public consultation on the revised policy in which 450 organisations were invited to participate, as well as members of the public. The organisations invited to comment included; existing licence holders, the police, fire service, NHS, organisations concerned with the social impact of gambling, MPs, parish councils, and faith groups.

The deadline for the first stage of the application process is 26 April 2012. The second stage is expected to begin this summer with a provisional aim of the process being completed and the licence granted within 2012/13 financial year.

Organisations interested in applying for the licence can contact large.casino@leeds.gov.uk for copies of the application pack.

Notes to editor
Leeds does not have powers to grant a ‘Super Casino’ licence. This term is used to refer to a regional style casino, and not a large casino licence.

Recent figures place a value of over £1.4 billion on the city’s visitor economy, while economic output for Leeds and the wider city region stands at over £45 billion per annum.

Leeds currently has £4.3 billion of investment in large scale development schemes, that the city has attracted over the last ten years with a further £6.5 billion in the development pipeline.

Flagship schemes currently under construction in the city centre include the new 13,500-capacity Leeds arena and the £350 million Trinity Leeds retail and leisure development.

Both the arena and Trinity Leeds are scheduled to open in spring 2013, when the council also expects to grant the large casino licence. Leeds is the largest authority with powers to grant a licence and the opportunity is expected to attract widespread interest from the industry.

For media enquiries, please contact:
Emma Whittell, Leeds City Council press office, on (0113) 2474713
Email: emma.whittell@leeds.gov.uk