The first casino with a license under the U.K. 2005 Gambling Act has begun operations.
Aspers Casino Westfield Stratford City is the first of the so-called “large” casinos authorized under the 2005 Gambling Act. It is located inside what is billed as the largest in-town shopping center in Europe, in an area receiving extra redevelopment attention in connection with the 2012 London Olympics.
Aspers is a joint venture between Australia’s Crown Limited and Damian Aspinall, whose father John Aspinall ran the Clermont Club in Mayfair in the 1960s.
The Westfield casino welcomed 30,000 visitors in its first three days—more than four times the number anticipated, according to news site ThisIsLondon. Aside from the gaming, the casino served more than 18,000 meals and drinks and issued 6,000 loyalty club cards over the three days.
The 65,000-square-foot casino offers 40 gaming tables, 92 electronic gaming terminals, a 150-seat poker room, sports betting and the maximum-allowed 150 slot machines. The casino is open around the clock.
Richard Noble, CEO of Aspers Group Limited, told the Guardian that the gaming model is “high-volume, low-spend,” with projected average stake per person of £15-£20.
“We call what we do ‘entertainment betting,’ rather than particularly aiming for high-stakes, professional betting,” said Noble. “We class this as a space for fun entertainment, that’s all.”
Noble said that Aspers has “robust policies to prevent lowlife from entering—despite the 24-hour opening, no one in hoodies or tracksuits can enter, or anyone we suspect has been drinking heavily.”
Noble said that the casino will attract an additional 4.2 million people to the Westfield shopping center and even more people to the town of Newham, which awarded the casino license.