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UK – Wolverhampton will be a two horse race

By - 5 November 2012

With the deadline now passed, only two applicants have lodged their official interest in the launch of a ‘small’ casino licence in Wolverhampton, in the British Midlands.

Wolverhampton City Council revealed it had received an application looking to open a small casino at the former Dorchester night club site in Southside and a proposal to transform Wolverhampton Racecourse into a racino, creating the country’s first such project.

The applications are now open for public consultation until November 27 before Stage Two of the process begins, where both applicants will highlight the benefits their projects would bring to the city.
The ‘small’ casino licence will see one operator allowed to open a venue with 80 slot machines with the standard £4,000 jackpot.
Wolverhampton was one of eight local authorities granted a Casino Premises Licence for a small casino, by Parliament in 2008.

Nick Edwards, Wolverhampton City Council’s Assistant Director for Regeneration, said: “I am pleased we are entering Stage Two of this process with two strong applications received. As well as enhancing the night time offer we have here in Wolverhampton, a new development such as this will provide extra regeneration benefits to our city – such as the creation of new jobs. We now look forward to receiving both applications and we are on track to award the licence in 2013, as planned.”

Whilst no developer or operator has been named for the Dorchester proposal, Arena Lesiure, owners of the existing Racecourse are obviously the force behind the racino push. Back in 2009 it was named by the council as the preferred option from a list of five companies keen to develop the project.  Arena Leisure was granted a three year extension last year to develop its £23m project following delays to the casino licence be awarded. The council has blamed the delay in launching the licence on its proactive attempt to launch a bid that would not receive any court action.

Leader of the council Roger Lawrence said: “It has taken a long time to get to this stage because the guidance was slow in coming to us. We had to make sure we avoided any legal challenges.”

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