|Park Place Entertainment, the US casino group behind Las Vegas properties like Caesars Palace and Bally’s, will wait until the UK government’s plans for deregulation of the gambling industry are more concrete.|
Peter George, head of Park Place’s international operations, said that despite the recently published guidance paper from the Department of Culture, Media and Sport which gave a provisional go ahead to a small number of Las Vegas-style gambling developments, there were still “several key issues to be determined”, including policies on licensing and duty.
“If you are looking to make large investments in resort-style casinos you need to know how the licensing people will approach their jobs,” George said, adding that pegging casino tax rates in at the same level as betting shops and bingo halls was “the logical outcome”.
George said Park Place had examined a possible development at the Olympia exhibition centre in London - which MGM Mirage is now looking at - the company was still interested in developing sites in London and in the regions, including Scotland.
“We’ll continue to meet with regional development agencies (RDAs) and look at possible sites we’re interested in. But until we understand a bit more about the process and what the RDAs are going to do, we’ll stand back from any deals,” George said.
“There’s always a danger you’ll miss a good deal but it could be two and a half years before the legislation is passed. We’re in it for the long haul and we want to make the right decisions,” he said.