New Casino is planned for Riverlights scheme

Derby will have a new casino in the GBP 95m Riverlights scheme regardless of a city council bid to the Government under new gambling laws.

The Riverlights project’s new developer has revealed that it is in an „advanced stage“ of negotiations with Nottingham-based Gala, which has 28 casinos in the UK.

Derby-born David Osborne, who is heading up Derby Riverlights – a company set up to take on the redevelopment of Derby Bus Station – said he hoped that solicitors would be instructed next week to finalise the deal.

The news came as Derby City Council emerged as one of 41 local authorities bidding for one of 16 small or large casinos the Government is offering.

Mr Osborne said that he welcomed the news that Derby had applied for one of the new casinos – which the Government is proposing under the new Gambling Act – but said that negotiations with Gala were at an „advanced stage“ to open a 23,000 sq ft (2,137 sq metres) casino as part of Riverlights.

„We’ve already secured a gaming licence and we’ll be proceeding with the existing proposal,“ said Mr Osbourne.

Riverlights, which has been in the pipeline for a decade, includes the demolition of Derby Bus Station, in Morledge, and the construction of a new city centre bus station, bars, restaurants and a leisure complex.

Mr Osborne, who is also planning to include a hotel in the scheme, said he hoped work would start on demolishing the bus station site „in a matter of weeks“.

It is not clear how the city council’s bid for a casino fits in with Mr Osborne’s plans, but city council leader Chris Williamson said it would not be a rival bid and the council believed that Riverlights was the best location.

He added: „We think a casino would be good for Derby. It would be another destination for people coming into the city. It will help in the regeneration of the city centre and have a positive impact on the economy.“

Derby Riverlights‘ proposal would compare to what the Government considers to be a large casino with a minimum floorspace of 1,500 metres.

Derby already has the Carlton Casino, in Friar Gate, and the Stanley Derby Casino, in Col- year Street.

Meanwhile, Chesterfield is hoping to win the right to build Britain’s first Las Vegas-style „super casino“ in a separate battle between 27 local authorities.

Developer Raven Leisure wants the Chesterfield „super casino“ to be the centrepiece of a GBP 300m development that would create thousands of jobs.

Only one area will be allowed to host the giant regional casino with 4,000 unlimited jackpot slot machines. Derby has not applied.

The Gambling Act recently passed by Parliament will allow three new types of casinos to operate in Britain. One „regional casino“ will be permitted, along with eight large and eight small casinos.

The advisory panel’s task is to recommend to the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport the areas where the casinos would best be located.