Aspers already owns two large casinos, in Milton Keynes and London’s Westfield Stratford City, and their fine track record is understood to have played a major role in the licensing committee's decision. Matt Tucker, chairman of Southampton City Council’s licensing committee, has insisted it was the ‘best deal for the city’ and that the new casino will play a big part in the regeneration of the waterfront, which has been a ‘longstanding aspiration’.
Damian Aspinall, chairman of Aspers Group, was quoted by radio station The Breeze as saying: “We are delighted with the Council’s decision to award Aspers the large casino licence for Southampton. Aspers is dedicated to delivering an exceptional venue in Southampton, creating jobs and working closely with the local community.
“We are very proud to have successfully delivered the first two operational large licence casinos to the UK and are excited to now have the opportunity to bring a third high quality Aspers casino, including bars, dining facilities and live entertainment, to the city of Southampton.”
The new casino is scheduled to open in 2021 and is set to include 150 slot machines and 30 gaming tables for blackjack and roulette, with a minimum area of 1,000 square metres. The facility will also comprise restaurants, shops, a 250-bed hotel and 730 apartments, and the city’s ferry terminals are set to switch to the Eastern Docks to help make room.
The latest announcement comes just weeks after Southampton opened the first Gala Bingo venue to be built from scratch in nine years earlier in 2016, and continues an exciting period of redevelopment for the city. As well as receiving £100,000 after granting the licence and a further £150,000 on opening, the council will take at least 2% of the gross gaming revenues to help benefit the local community.