We were delighted to attend the opening of the new casino in Leeds last night as a little of Las Vegas rubbed off on Leeds. It seems a long time ago now that we were burning the midnight oil in our application against the successful bid for the Victoria Gate Casino. We acted for Leeds United in an attempt to put the 2005 large casino into Elland Road. The final decision for Leeds City Council came down to those 2 bids after the other 3 bids fell by the wayside. We were beaten in the bidding process as Leeds City Council assessed the Victoria Gate bid as having the greatest potential benefit to Leeds due to the financial package offered and also its City centre location. The Casino sits proudly as part of the new Victoria Gate redevelopment which hosts John Lewis and a range of other high end shopping outlets.
The new venue, operated by Global Gaming Ventures, is the country’s third largest casino at 50,000 sq ft and will be able to host 1,400 people. One of the biggest poker rooms in the country will have room for 100 players and there are 24 live gaming tables, 140 slot machines and 75 electronic gaming terminals. Some of the machines are linked to the new £20,000 jackpot. The premises will also allow customers to bet on live sporting events whilst relaxing with a drink and/or food in sumptuous surroundings.
Patrick Noakes, venue director, said: “Leeds has never seen an entertainment destination like this before. We can’t wait for people to step through the doors and see the spectacular space for themselves. It’s a game-changer – not just for casino fans but for the city as a whole. Victoria Gate Casino will strengthen Leeds’ already diverse entertainment, dining and nightlife offering and will provide so much more than just gaming.”
The new casino features three distinct areas for food and drink. The Live Bar has huge screens showing sporting action and Curve is a champagne, cocktail and craft beer bar overlooking the casino floor. There is also the V Restaurant which offers a Yorkshire-themed menu in an informal brasserie style.
The atmosphere last night was exceptional as the great and the good of Leeds had the first opportunity to see what all the fuss was about and most of the cast of Emmerdale appeared to be there, as well as other local celebrities.
It doesn’t seem too long ago since we attended the opening of the now closed Alea down at Clarence Dock. Those premises suffered from being in an area of Leeds with poor transport links and closed soon after the operator decided not to pursue a bid for the Gambling Act 2005 licence which would have allowed them to upgrade to many of the facilities now on offer at Victoria Gate. They were unable to offer some of the more lucrative facilities as the premises had the benefit of a converted 1968 Act Licence. Victoria Gate is able to offer far more than the other trading casinos in Leeds due to its status as a 2005 Act casino and others will have to be even more dedicated to offering a first class service to their customers to continue to compete.
We have already seen bar and restaurant operators start to look around the vicinity of the Casino as the leisure market in Leeds looks to move in new directions. All in all Leeds continues to improve its offer for the local market and as a leisure destination.