Westfield Stratford City Welcomes Opening of UK’s First Super Casino
Last week the UK’s first super casino, the Aspers casino, opened in London to a mixture of great excitement and apprehension. The casino is located in Westfield Stratford City and was officially opened for business on December 1st.
It is thanks to the Gambling Act of 2005 that a super casino was allowed to be opened in the UK. The casino will be open all day, every day and inside players will find 40 table games, a 150 seat poker room, 150 slot machines and a number of restaurants and bars.
Westfield Stratford City is home to Europe’s largest shopping centre and the casino operators are hoping that this will result in large numbers of casual gamblers. The COO, Richard Noble, said that “We call what we do ‘entertainment betting’, rather than particularly aiming for high-stakes, professional betting. We class this as a space for fun entertainment, that’s all.” It is expected that the average bet will be around £15 – £20 per person.
Despite the measures taken to ensure that Aspers will not be a source of problem gambling it has still caused large amounts of controversy. The casino was awarded its licence in 2007 and immediately anti-gambling campaigners began arguing that it would increase the gambling habits of people living in Stratford.
They also argued that whilst the casino would attract more business for the area it would be limited due to the casino’s location. The casino is housed inside a shopping centre and next to an exit to one of the Olympic parks, therefore it is already a popular spot for visitors and it is not clear if the casino will bring any more people.
However, the majority of responses to the casino have been in very positive, people like the idea of being able to go for a small bet whilst shopping and are very complementary of the casino’s beauty.