Las Vegas supercasino in Great Yarmouth a step closer

THE first steps towards a large Las Vegas-style casino “30 to 40pc the size of London’s O2 Arena” in Great Yarmouth were taken at a borough council meeting this week.

Palatial Leisure’s plans to convert Palace Bingo in Church Plain into a casino were approved at a development control committee meeting on Tuesday, potentially paving the way for a �25m investment which could regenerate rundown areas around The Conge.

In the short term, the conversion will create 50 new jobs and the applicant needs the planning permission to obtain a casino licence – which does not allow a casino in a bingo hall, but does allow a bingo hall in a casino.

At the moment, the casino occupies a small separate area alongside the bingo hall, but walls will be knocked down to create the large casino, occupying a 3,000sq ft floor space and providing up to 150 �4,000 jackpot gaming machines.

Patrick Duffy, of Palatial Leisure, said the enlarged complex could be open as early as February.

He attended Tuesday’s meeting where Penny Linden raised concerns about Palace vans parking in public spaces, while George Jermany was worried under-18s could use the casino.

However, Mr Duffy gave assurances under-18s could not use either the bingo hall or casino.

Most Read

Mick Castle said: “I have not heard of any complaints about the casino, and this seems to be a very uncontroversial application.”

While Newham, in east London, looked poised to be the first destination of eight nationwide to open a large casino – possibly before the end of the year – the winner of the licence has become the subject of a legal challenge that may delay it.

Mr Duffy was laying his cards on the table ahead of the borough council’s May 17 deadline for the submission of large casino licence applications.

Albert Jones, boss of the resort’s Pleasure Beach, confirmed he would be going head-to-head with Mr Duffy and hoping to persuade the council to plump for his futuristic-looking casino and leisure development – called The Edge – which would be built next to the outer harbour.

He said he would be announcing the final details of his scheme and his partners ahead of the deadline.

In the current economic climate, it is thought they might be the only applicants in a two-stage process that will see the licence awarded in December or January. The council’s ultimate test will be determining which scheme would deliver the most benefit to the town.

Although the council has been criticised in slipping 18 months behind its original timetable for awarding the licence, Mr Duffy said the advantage of his scheme was that his casino was already built.

Mr Jones already has planning permission for his scheme which would include a hotel, car parking, bowling, multiplex cinema, restaurants and bars.