Elland RoadLeeds City Council will announce early next week who has won the rights to build Leeds’ first supercasino.

Six years since the government first announced plans for Las Vegas style casinos to be built across the UK, Leeds City Council has now reached the final decision stage with meetings scheduled to take place Monday the 13th and Tuesday the 14th of May. A final decision is expected to be announced when the council reconvenes on Friday.

Several parties have pulled out of the running since applications were made last year, leaving only two remaining bidders.

The remaining bidders are Leeds United Football Club, who will integrate the new casino into a redeveloped West Stand, and Global Gaming Ventures, who plan to build the casino as the centrepiece of a new city centre development.

A spokesman for Leeds United Football Club gave a brief statement to the Yorkshire Evening Post;

 “We await with interest the outcome of the council’s decision in relation to the award of the licence after what has been a detailed and lengthy process.

“It goes without saying that if we were successful it would deliver significant benefits for both the club and the community.”

If successful, Leeds United say the casino will be operated by a specialist partner and that its construction will be central to the redevelopment of Elland Road’s West Stand. A second tier will be added to the West Stand, improving facilities, adding new executive boxes and also increasing Elland Road’s capacity.

The casino will be spread across two floors within the West Stand itself. The supercasino license will allow Leeds United to install gaming machines with jackpots of up to £4,000, along with poker, black-jack and other casino games.

Full details of Leeds United’s plans, including an artist’s impression of how the redeveloped stand will look, are available here.

The new supercasino is expected to create around 700 jobs in the city, bringing up to 1,000,000 additional tourists to Leeds each year.

  • Just seen that the decision is now expected on Friday, when the licensing committee reconvenes after two seshes on Monday and Tuesday (from much of which the public will be excluded). Will amend the story on my blog in a bit.

    • TSS

      Thanks. Will also update.

  • markman

    anyone know what the financial benefit to the club would be?

    • TSS

      Not sure how they plan to operate it. I suspect it’ll be run by one of the big casino operators, who’ll probably be major shareholders footing most of the bill for it’s construction – alongside other outside investment, no doubt.

      No matter how they do it, it can only be a good thing for Leeds United though. It’ll bring a lot more people to Elland Road and casinos are absolute cash-cows, the club is bound to profit nicely from it. This was one of Ken Bates’ very rare, good ideas.

      Truth be told though, I don’t think Leeds will get it. Transport links to Elland Road are lousy, enormous leisure complexes like this need to be well-connected (like Xscape in Castleford for example), I think that’ll count against us. The other proposed site is in the city centre so it has no such trouble.

      • Irving08

        The casino is a lousy idea, precisely for the fact that it is a cash cow.

        • TSS

          I know, a business making cash is the very definition of evil.

          • Irving08

            It depends on the nature of the business. LUFC should not be in the business of encouraging a habit that brings a great deal of misery to a large number of people. Furthermore large scale gambling invariably attracts criminal elements, with all the attendant security problems. If this is the kind of club you want to be associated with, you are welcome to it.

          • TSS

            “LUFC should not be in the business of encouraging a habit that brings a great deal of misery to a large number of people”

            Hahahaha. That’s exactly the business Leeds United are in.

            Sure, it brings occasional joy too, but then so too does gambling. I always enjoy a night out at the casino. I don’t always enjoy a day out at Elland Road.

          • Matthew

            Not to mention, it’s not as if people will have to walk through the casino or anywhere near it if they don’t want too. A smart casino building isn’t going to put parents off, if done right it’l just be a nice little thing attached to the stadium that benefits the club, and offers additional capacity too for future use.

          • Irving08

            Mathew. I think we need to look at the context – a country with declining levels of education achievement, considered internationally, and the virtual cessation of the social mobility enjoyed by many people of my generation. Throw in the levlels of credit, which continue to cripple the finances of millions of our people, and the promotion of casinos, with their illusory promise of instant riches, to me seems the height of irresponsibility.

          • Matthew

            The thing is, you actually need money to go in a Casino. They’re not dodgy establishments, we’re talking about a high class service for people who want to gamble and make a bit of money if they’re lucky. A serious casino is not full of down and outs, jobless people etc. They’re more for high rollers, and people with a bit of cash that want to have a go. You know, where businessmen and wealthy people can spend a night out and have a bit of fun?

            Leeds United football club can’t control peoples finances, there’s no way the club can be blamed for any problems a casino COULD bring. You make the choice if you want to enter a Casino before you even open the door, if you lose all your money, or are broke as a result, it’s no ones fault but your own.

            People that enter a Casino if they’re not particularly rich should infact just bring the money they want to gamble away. Infact just make a choice, like 100 quid, spend no more or less, and when you lose, you leave. Control your habbits, and you’l be fine.

            Casinos offer a service, and as a direct result the club will benefit.

          • Irving08

            Mathew – you mean people like Bates ?

          • Irving

            Ha – nice one. And neither delivers just deserts.

  • Irish White

    Will the capacity of the West Stand be upgraded? Would love to see the capacity reach 40,000, and have the biggest stadium outside PL again, beating Hillsborough!

    • TSS

      Yes. A second tier will be added to West Stand (matching it to East). Updated post to include full plans, there’s also a link to the artists impression on Official Site.

  • Nick

    How will this decision affect the rest of the development plans ? I.e; if we don’t get the casino, demand for hotel reservations woe be seriously affected, so would a hotel be viable? What would go in place of the casino?

  • Chicago White

    I cant see a city centre casino getting approval so LUFC seem to be in prime position, IMO it would be pointless building a hotel & arcades onto the ES much better to build the Casino, Hotel, Arcades, Conference centre, bars & cinema etc into the WS using the Vegas model as they know once a punter walks outside they could be lost.

    • Irving08

      Please tell us why the Vegas model is one anyone would wish to emulate. Gambling on that scale causes untold social problems. It would be the death of LUFC as a family-oriented football club. It might very well kill it as a football club per se.

  • Matthew

    Although the idea is great in general, the only decision that interests me is the decision to give Brian McDermott backing and bring in the players he wants, or at the most, most of them. Additional capacity for the stadium isn’t going to mean much if we’re not in a position to fill it. We need Premier League football to make any stadium improvements like this beneficial.

    • Irving08

      Mathew _ it’s a lousy idea in principle. Just as we seem to be getting back our soul. like TSS, you appear to be willing to sell it again. What parent with any modicum of common sense or social awareness will want to buy into a club whose finances are underpinned by gambling ? Don’t we have enough rampant capitalism in football, as it is ?

      • TSS

        As opposed to alcohol, tribal factions, idiotic abuse hurling from terraces and erm… gambling… (never placed a bet on a football match?)

      • Matthew

        It’s not selling your soul. It’s making yourself self sustainable. Once all of the damage Ken Bates has done has been reversed, and additional revenue flows into the club that can be used for players, or anything that will benefit the club, we’l be much better off as a result.

        Ideally we just need our foot in the Premier League and none of this casino stuff will matter, we’l be getting over 30,000 fans a week on matchdays, and the club will be better off as a result. GFH if they can fund a Premier League push will be better off as a result too and more inclined to stick around and offer stability.

        We need stability.

  • Irving08

    The casino will most probably not come to Elland Road. The odds must be on it completing the new Eastgate development in Leeds (Phase II). Personally, I would prefer that it not be in the centre of Leeds, but it is the Council’s policy to locate big leisure developments, like the Arena, in locations where that benefit the surrounding shops, restaurants and hotels. Also the developers Hammerson must be struggling to come up with something to occupy the land bought in the relevant part of the city (for bloggers who know Leeds it is where the fledgling China town used to be). Actually, I am not enthusiastic about the casino being at Elland Road either; it would be an unnecessary distraction.

  • igothopeunderMcD

    I may be being naive here but who pays for the redevelopment? The club or the Casino owners?

    • TSS

      Probably be a joint venture between the two, both parties will seek investment to fund construction I suspect.

      • Irving08

        Rubbish – it will be a stain on both the club and the surrounding community.

        • TSS

          Nonsense. I used to play in poker tournaments quite regularly, casinos are nothing like you imagine. They’re good for a night out and a bit of fun.

          Arguing that a casino encourages gambling addiction is like arguing that a pub encourages alcoholism. People without the necessary self-control to have fun in a casino/pub without blitzing their life-savings can seldom afford to be in one in the first place, they’re much more likely to be placing bets at the bookies or getting wasted on cheap supermarket cider.

          • Irving08

            Believe it or not I have been to casinos, albeit Russian ones, and in my time have bet quite large amounts on horses (Norton’s Coin in the Gold Cup at 100-1, being one notable win), as well as having earned pocket money on percentages of winnings, from bets delivered to ‘bookies from the pub where I was brought up.

            So, I do not have a philosophical objection to gambling.

            As I said earlier it is the context that matters. By and large, to the extent that there is any social progress,I believe it is in tempering the injustices that arise from luck (of birth, talent – stuff over which people have no control or responsibility) – and in this respect I have seen considerable and well documented regress in our society over the past 30 years or so. To me casinos are one symbol of this regress – I feel the same way about the national lottery- and this is my principal objection to them.

  • leedsbilly

    The ice rink is soon to be built behind the West Stand , this will be handy for dropping the kids off while I nip into the casino and win enough to buy em a subway or big mac afterwards. Then we can tour the streets of Holbeck and Beeston and throw scraps for the peasants.All in all a good education for the young uns.

  • Flippin-Pop-It-Bruva

    Being somebody who has worked in a casino, i’m not sure what the ‘benefits to the community’ will be perhaps seventy jobs and hundreds of new families ruined by a gambling habit. The more you lose the more free stuff they give you. A place with no windows [so you don’t know what time of day it is] no clocks and letters sent out to addicts on a weekly basis tempting them back in. Like all Leeds united fans I too want to see Leeds prosper but I don’t like the sugar coating part of the casino being a benefit to a community lets face it Leeds are selling out a bit here. But better its run by Leeds than another company? Yes probably. Lets not forget that for most people its a small frivolous punt but for hundreds this casino could ruin their lives, not benefit their community.

    • TSS

      Gambling addicts exist with or without a casino. I know a lad who had serious problems that spiralled out of control with roulette machines in bookies, but he’d been losing his entire wage every week long before they were installed by betting on horses.

      Casinos don’t create gambling addicts, they’ll exist regardless. Same way alcoholics exist without pubs. These people lack self-control and need help, but that’s no reason to stop the other 99.9% of people who enjoy a night out at the casino from having some fun.

      I find people’s reaction to this entirely disproportionate. Why aren’t the same people who object to a casino being built protesting against pubs being built? Alcoholism ruins a lot more lives than casinos do, it costs the country a lot more by the crime it creates too, but society at large is OK with drinking so there’s no issue raised.

      Doesn’t matter if it’s alcohol, gambling or drugs, all addicts are the same. They lack self-control and need help, but that can’t be at the expense of all the other people in this country who enjoy the occasional drink, or bet, or line of coke without it ever ruining anyone’s life… (well, maybe not the last one, but you get my drift…)

      • john

        TSS, You really are thick

        • TSS

          Thanks for that insightful and considered response.

      • Flippin-Pop-It-Bruva

        No that is a fair point TSS, addicts have addictive natures already and for a large number the casino is a bit of fun. However there is a dark side to casino’s, I’ve seen suicides in the toilets [a man who bet his bosses business and lost] human trafficers, ive met the ‘Hatchet man’ from a Triad gang and I have seen grown men cry and beg me to help them stop gambling. Although all addicts have addictive natures they all have a point where a bit of fun gambling tips over into full on addiction and from having a quick go on a machine in a pub can easily turn into betting large amounts on a casino table. The reason nobody is protesting about pubs being built is that most of them are being closed rather than opened!!!! In a way the pubs are being replaced by gambling, instead of having a pint with your mates after work, its have a quick bet on your phone or go home to watch your misses lose on the online bingo. You’re right in other ways too, as you can be addicted to anything and it can ruin your life it just depends how much self control you have……I just wish my addiction was sex lol

    • dirtydom77

      It will benefit the community with the construction which will require hundreds of construction staff. The majority of people who will use the casino won’t be gambling addicts. Do you complain about pub’s opening because there are a handful of alcoholics. Wind your neck in!

  • Leeds_Lad

    LEEDS CITY COUNCIL MUST NOT RISK THE POSSIBILITY OF DOING BUSINESS WITH BATES ! …. Fans have long been asking who owns Elland Rd (and Thorpe Arch) and why Bates wants to hang around as “Honorary President” ? …. As GFH do not own our own stadium, I think this probably gives us the answer who does !

  • Am I missing the point, is a football club all about football, or is it about fleecing money from people? If you want to go to Las Vegas, go to Las Vegas.

    Why make Leeds United Football Club a gambling host?

    I’m sorry, but Leeds United is a football club, not a Casino.

    Is there a Casino at Old Trafford, Emirates, Anfield, Bernabeu or Wembley?

    No.
    Can we please please please just concentrate on the the football and the football club for a change?

    We know why this is on the table. It’s because it’s a Ken idea. An idea that would make Ken money and not the club.
    Casinos run Casinos, Football clubs should run Football clubs.

    • TSS

      It’s a standalone business Leeds benefit from. All the clubs you mention have other interests, and it’ll become even more common with the FFP regulations as clubs look at ways to increase revenues so they can continue to compete at the highest levels.

  • john

    Ken Bates has destroyed this club not saved it, you are sick excuse for a human being Ken

    • TSS

      I don’t think anyone argued otherwise?

  • john

    All Leeds fans must make their voicees heard against this, we don’t want it

  • Ev

    GFH have no money so who’s funding this from the clubs side?? Oh it must be the owner of the stadium Ken Bates…. And you still think this is a good idea TSS ??

    There’s one other concern…. One day we may own our own stadium again and we will want to rebuild it or redevelop it but seperate company’s will own parts of it…… Portsmouth afc springs to mind !

    I hope the counsel say no to Leeds united…. This one smells of captain birdseye

    • TSS

      It’s a standalone business, it’ll be funded by a mix of Leeds City Council, private investors, the casino operator and/or bank loan. How do you think every other business is funded? So long as you can show a solid business plan with profit-making potential (not hard with a casino), you’ll have no trouble attracting investment.

      But I’m glad you raised this point because I think this is the reason why so many people are objecting – because they think it’ll somehow suck funds from LUFC. It won’t. It’ll be an entirely separate venture, with separate investors, run as a standalone business. Investors won’t be funding the club by investing in the casino, and the club won’t be funding the casino. But when the casino does profit, Leeds United will receive a share of those profits (along with the investors) due to our ownership of it. Plus we get a redeveloped West Stand for our troubles.

      The reason people are so sceptical is because Ken Bates built restaurants and bars at huge expense to the club by dipping into season ticket sales. It was sheer stupidity of the highest order. He couldn’t show a business plan where the profits covered the cost of building the business, so there was no chance of attracting investment. They were pointless and expensive “vanity projects”, no one in their right mind was ever going to invest so the only way Ken could fund them was through the club.

      A casino is an all-year round attraction that’ll rake money in. Entirely different to all of the silly, loss-making ventures Ken Bates built. If this was another pointless bar, restaurant or even a hotel, I’d be objecting too. But a casino is an all-year round leisure complex that’ll be funded by investors and increase Leeds United’s turnover for decades to come. We’d be VERY fortunate to get this, especially at a time when FFP regulations are forcing clubs to look at new income streams.

  • Irving08

    Casino on the site where we could have had a China town/Oriental Quarter. What does this rell us about the clods running our city ?

    • Irving08

      Woops – tell … but at least it’s not coming to Elland Road.

      • Matthew

        The only thing I want at Elland Road more than anything really is new players. I’m just hoping they don’t fuck Brian Mc around there. We were lucky landing him to begin with, if we lose him, we’l end up with some random shitty manager and more mid table shit again.