Northern Ireland to Open First Casino in 2014?

Posted on December 28th, 2013

A Grosvenor Casino in Belfast, Northern Ireland?

Northern Ireland´s first casino could be built in 2014 following a meeting between one the UK’s biggest gaming companies, Rank (owner of Grosvenor online casino) and Belfast City councillors. The multi million-pound project would also include restaurants and a hotel, and would create up to 200 jobs.

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Dan Waugh from Rank met Sinn Féin, Alliance and SDLP councillors earlier in December 2013.
He is due to also meet Ulster Unionist and DUP representatives at City Hall early in 2014 to show off a model of the casino.
There are currently no casinos in the region, so there is some way to go before the plans become a cert. They would need politicians to amend the current N.I. legislation to allow regulated and monitored gambling alongside a cinema, restaurants, bars and a hotel- a similar format to that seen across Europe
Currently, the city council only allows amusement arcades.

France has the highest amount of casinos in Europe (almost 200), followed by casinos in the UK (just over 140). There is expected to be strong resistance to the plans for Nortern Ireland from various groups in Northern Ireland, particularly from religious groups such as the Presbyterian church.

Rank has other ideas, of course. It would like to see Northern Ireland as a “mini Singapore casino town” which has had great success with the Marina Bay Sands where locals are restricted from playing. But the betting laws would need to be relaxed.

Rank, the company behind Mecca Bingo, has 35 casinos in the UK owned through Grosvenor Casinos, but has been unable to grow into Northern Ireland because of the legal restrictions there.

Its interest in Northern Ireland has been fanned by a amendment in the law south of the border in Ireland that will allow up to 40 small casinos there.

The plan would bring in about £3m into the public coffers every year.

The plans centre on a number of buildings under one roof in the Titanic Quarter of Belfast with bars, restaurants, theatres, a hotel, a conference centre and a casino.

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