Leeds City Council’s licensing committee today decided to grant a provisional statement for a large casino licence, with conditions, to Global Gaming Ventures Ltd (GGV), who propose to open a new casino as part of the Victoria Gate development scheme. This decision will enable GGV to apply for a large casino premises licence in due course.
This announcement follows a detailed application process which began in January 2012. Five applications were originally submitted at stage one of the statutory process, with all five applications assessed as being appropriate to proceed to stage two.
Three applicants submitted stage two applications and following a decision by one applicant to withdraw from the process, two final applications were made. GGV applied for a casino in the Eastgate development (now called Victoria Gate) and Leeds United Football Club for a casino in the West Stand at Elland Road. Both remained in the competition for final consideration at a meeting of the licensing committee earlier this week.
The Gambling Act 2005 states that the council must grant the application which would, in the authority’s opinion, be likely to result in the greatest benefit to the city.
The stage two process required the applicants to submit detailed proposals which were subject to rigorous checks and assessed against the evaluation criteria which were established by the committee and its advisors.
As part of the evaluation process, applicants were required to propose upfront and ongoing financial payments to the council to enable the council to create a ‘Social Inclusion Fund’. The council-controlled fund will be used to deliver projects that help address financial, economic and social exclusion in the city. This will include funding activities to mitigate any potential harmful effects of the operation of a large casino.
Applicants were required to explain in detail the plans they have in place to reduce any negative impact their development could have and were required to indicate their commitment to providing employment and training for local residents as well as plans to maximise economic impact.
Councillor Graham Hyde, chair of the licensing committee said:
“Following a detailed consideration of each applicants’ proposal, the licensing committee decided to award the licence to Global Gaming Ventures as it was determined that their proposal would bring greatest benefit to the city. The award is subject to the terms of an agreement that will guarantee the delivery of a number of benefits, which are:
- An upfront payment of one million pounds
- From the first anniversary of the casino opening, GGV will make an annual payment for the lifetime of the licence. This will be the greater sum of four hundred and fifty thousand pounds or 4 per cent of net gaming revenue.
- Employment of at least 205 Full Time Equivalent staff, with a commitment made that 90 per cent of roles will be filled by Leeds City Region residents.
- Employment of 10 apprentices in the casino.
- Interviewing at least 100 NEETs (young people who are not in education, employment or training) and employing at least 15 NEETs in the first year of casino operation.
- A commitment to put into place and fund a Leeds Responsible Gambling Forum.
- Establishing an Impact Committee to monitor the impacts arising from casino operation.
- Commitment to deliver marketing campaigns that do not target the most deprived parts of the city.
“I would like to thank both applicants for the time and effort put into their proposals. We received two strong proposals which were both duly considered.
“Importantly, GGV has committed to provide significant funds for a council run social inclusion fund and a range of measures that will help to ensure that any potential harmful effects are managed and mitigated against.
“The two applications are major development schemes and both could have delivered substantial benefit to the city’s economy through the award of this licence.
“GGV’s proposal will provide a major boost to the local economy. The leisure economy already attracts thousands of visitors to Leeds, and this new large casino at Victoria Gate will add an extra dimension to the existing popular attractions in the city.
“With GGV committed to create at least 205 new jobs and providing significant payments for the council to establish a social inclusion fund, the award of the licence will allow the council to invest in activities that support the city’s social and economic inclusion agenda.”
The council will now develop in further detail its proposals for a Social Inclusion Fund, which will be considered by the executive board in the summer.
Notes to editor
Leeds is one of only eight local authorities in the country with powers to grant a large casino licence - which is not the same as a ‘super casino’. The new casino will have a minimum area of 1,000 sq m and up to 150 slot machines with a maximum jackpot of £4,000.
The grant is for a provisional statement which is the pre-cursor to a full licence. A full licence has not been requested at this stage because the premises are still to be constructed. It allows the development to proceed with confidence that the final licence will be granted providing the application for it is made ‘in reliance’ on the provisional statement. If it is (i.e. for exactly the same premises, hours and activities) then no objections can be made to the full licence.
For media enquiries, please contact:
Emma Whittell, Leeds City Council press office, on (0113) 2474713