Southampton is set to be the home to an Aspers super casino after the casino operator was awarded its third such license by the Southampton council.
The Royal Pier area of the city is being redeveloped with a £450 million project and a new casino is part of those plans. In February 2014, Aspers announced it was to apply for a large casino license that would allow it to open a casino with a similar 36,500-sq ft plan to its Milton Keynes property, but faced competition from several other operators.
Seven months later, the Southampton Council approved seven large casino applications from Aspers, Genting, Grosvenor, Global Gaming Ventures, and Kymeira Casino, plus two non-casino operators, and said it would come to a final decision in June 2015.
While that deadline came and went, the decision has now been made and Aspers is set to create at least 180 jobs when it opens its new casino on Southampton's waterfront in 2021. The license permits Aspers to offer up to 150 slot machines with jackpots of up to £4,000, and up to 30 tables for blackjack and poker, compared to 20 in a regular casino.
Chairman of the Aspers group, Damian Aspinall, was overjoyed at the decision to award Aspers a license.
"We are delighted with the Council's decision to award Aspers the large casino licence for Southampton," Aspinall said. "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."
Matt Tucker, a councillor for Southampton, said the new casino would play a major role in the redevelopment plans and said the council believes Aspers were the best company be part of those plans.
"The regeneration of the waterfront at Royal Pier and Mayflower Park has been a longstanding aspiration for the city," Tucker said. "The casino will play a big part in making the redevelopment happen. There has been significant industry-wide interest in securing Southampton’s large casino licence from some very high-quality bidders. It has been both the largest and most complex competition nationally and I thank all of them for making this such a stiff task to decide.
"Having such high-level competition has enabled us to look at all the proposals in great detail and negotiate the best deal for the city before deciding on Aspers as being the operator that we believe can deliver the most. I am sure Aspers will provide a quality and varied offer. They already successfully deliver large casinos in London Westfield and Milton Keynes."