casinos - the way ahead for Blackpool?|
In Blackpool's heyday,
families would flood the famous beach, and stay in hotels and guest houses for
Today - with cheap flights and more choice - the town is
looking a bit frayed round the edges.
Blackpool is still Britain's number
one holiday destination but it's struggling to retain that title.
years ago, 17 million people came to the North West's capital of fun.
summer 2007 it's expecting just 10 million to grace its promenade and beaches.
The town's lowest moment to date probably came when the Labour Party said
that it wouldn't hold its annual conferences in Blackpool any more - even though
it had been coming to the Winter Gardens since Ramsay MacDonald was Prime Minister
in the 1920s.
But Blackpool has an ace up it's sleeve - it plans to
transform the town into the British Vegas.
In the British casino game it's all about winning
the regeneration argument and leading with a strong hand.
The better case
a town can make for revitalising itself, the better chance there is of it winning
the one licence that's currently available for a money making super-casino.
Garrett, Chief Executive of ReBlackpool, explains his vision for the future:
have aspirations in Blackpool for a cluster of casinos.
said that we believe that the mass that can be produced where you have a number
of these together - and all of the elements around them - will help regenerate
"Our aspirations are for many more than one."
So what could the future hold for Blackpool, and
who's going to make the money if the super casino comes to Lancashire?
would be no jackpot limit on the 1,2000 slot machines, and the casino would create
about 7,000 jobs.
Las Vegas - will Blackpool rival its success?|
swathes of Blackpool's buildings would be demolished to house the complex.
Out visits Las Vegas to get a glimpse of what the future could hold for the Lancashire
With its themed hotels and famous strip, Las Vegas is one of America's
premier tourist destinations.
We visit one of Vegas' iconic hotels - The
Flamingo - which boasts a staggering 3,600 rooms.
It is owned by Harrahs,
the world's biggest casino operator who've announced they're willing to spend
£400 million on a gambling entertainment complex in Blackpool.
casino like Flamingos takes between several hundred thousand to $1 million a day-
gambling is big business.
Dealing a strong hand
training is all-important in the casino business, and Blackpool is anxious to
get ahead of the competition.
The UK's first Gaming Academy to teach
trainee croupiers the tricks of the trade has already been opened in the town.
And even if the town loses the super casino bid, the students will still
come out on top because wherever the new casinos are, they'll need croupiers.
Colleen McLaughlin, Gaming Academy Manager says:
teach them how to deal five games which are blackjack, roulette, three card, five
card poker and punto banco.
"And we also talk to them about the gaming
environment so we fully prepare them for the casino industry.
to them about the legal aspects of the job and what's expected of them customer
service wise, so we try to give them a full overview really of the industry that
they're going into."
If successful, Blackpool wants to
give over half of the casino jobs to local people.
But it's not all about
gambling - the huge planned mega resort will also have entertainment and shopping.
2006 - for the first time - Vegas made more money from retailing than from gaming
- Blackpool hopes to cash in too.
Las Vegas has also been hugely successful
in using gambling to attract tourism and new money to regenerate the area.
chips are down...
Blackpool faces strong competition in its
bid for the super casino crown.
super casino bids
was voted the number one choice for Britain's first super casino in a poll of
1,036 people carried out on behalf of the resort and presented to the Casino Advisory
Panel (Sept 2006).
to the survey, 38% of people said Blackpool was their preferred choice, followed
by Greenwich (14%), Manchester (10%), Glasgow (6%), Sheffield (4%), Newcastle
(4%) and Cardiff (3%).
Amongst its opponents is nearby
North West rival Manchester.
But Blackpool is confident that it has a strong
It believes that the casino will be the catalyst to transform the
area from a resort in decline into a resort with a world-class future.
not everyone is convinced that a super casino is a good thing.
the bid say that it could lead to a rise in gambling addicts and crime.
thing's for certain - there won't be a decision on the super casino until 2007.
Until then the chips are still down and there's everything to play for
and Blackpool hopes to have a few aces up its sleeve.
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