Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

[Pounds Sterling]250m Super-Casino Plan for the Thames Gateway; South African Gambling Giant Pledges 2,500 Jobs

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

[Pounds Sterling]250m Super-Casino Plan for the Thames Gateway; South African Gambling Giant Pledges 2,500 Jobs

Article excerpt

Byline: MARTIN BENTHAM

ONE of the world's biggest casino groups today unveiled plans for a vast gambling complex in London.

South African giant Sun International wants to build the supercasino as part of a [pounds sterling]250million entertainment centre in the Thames Gateway.

As well as the casino, which would have up to 1,250 slot machines with unlimited payouts, the development would include an ice rink, cinema and a family entertainment zone. Gamblers would be able to leave their children at a play centre staffed by childcare specialists while they bet.

There would also be restaurants, bars, a spa "wellness" centre, a hotel and a live performance venue seating up to 5,000 people. About 2,500 jobs would be directly created by the scheme, with surrounding businesses also taking on a further 2,000 employees.

The plans are backed by the local council and the Thames Gateway Development Corporation but they could be scuppered if the Government rejects pressure to increase the number of super-casino licences to be granted.

Nearly 50 applicants are now seeking the one licence on offer but Gambling Commission sources have told the Evening Standard that ministers are planning to review the number offered in a U-turn that could see super-casinos springing up across the country.

Neil Murphy, the UK head of Sun International, said his company's plans would include funding to tackle problem gambling and would bring major benefits to the Thames Gateway. "It's going to create about 4,500 jobs, most of which will be for the local community, and at the same time create an outstanding entertainment centre for London," he said. "It will also bring a huge regeneration opportunity for east London."

The casino would be built on the top floor of a two-storey building constructed on a 20-acre site in Havering alongside the A13 and next to the RSPB's Rainham Marshes reserve. …

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