Casino victory for Yarmouth

STEPHEN PULLINGER Yarmouth's political and business leaders were this morning toasting news they have clinched one of the eight prized licences for a large casino.

STEPHEN PULLINGER

Yarmouth's political and business leaders were this morning toasting news they have clinched one of the eight prized licences for a large casino.

The decision by the Casino Advisory Panel, announced at 11am, is expected to trigger a rush of applications from companies for the licence which is expected to be determined by the borough council within 12 months.

While the sole super-casino licence has been granted to Manchester, Yarmouth will boast the biggest casino on the East Coast, with small casinos being announced for Scarborough and Hull.

Borough council chief executive Mark Barrow said: "This is a fabulous feeling. The development is likely to bring 1000-1,500 jobs to the borough. With 800 people unemployed that will make serious inroads on that figure.

"With the casino bringing an extra 5,000 to 10,000 new visitors to Yarmouth every week, the whole development will probably generate upto £40m per annum to the local economy."

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Council cabinet member for tourism Bert Collins described it as terrific news for jobs, coming on top of the impending outer harbour, a likely third river crossing and the multi-million pound seafront regeneration.

The most likely sites for the casino will be the Pleasure Beach where managing-director Albert Jones has joined forces with the Aspinall Group and Henry Boot development company to propose a massive scheme with cinemas, restaurants and a hotel, or the seafront Marina Centre site.

The council has been actively marketing this swathe of the seafront, which it owns, and around five firms have expressed an interest in developments worth up to £50m, centred on the casino.

Mr Barrow said the positive news today will have upped the stakes and further firms are expected to put in bids to develop the site.

It is thought it will be a year before the site and operator has been chosen and the end of 2009, at the earliest, for a casino to be built.