Economic Development and Planning Committee 1 March 2005
Item 4 – London’s New Casinos Dee Doocey (Chair): We now come to the substantive item on the agenda, the Committee’s Scrutiny into casinos. The Committee has already asked for and received a large amount of written evidence from a number of organisations and indeed from all the witnesses who are here today. We are aware of at least eight proposals in the pipeline for casinos to be built following the passage of the Bill through Parliament. We have invited today three groups who are interested in developing and building casinos: a group from the Dome in the Borough of Greenwich; from Wembley in the Borough of Brent and from Rainham in the Borough of Havering. We also have various other groups so I will start by introducing, on this side and representing the Dome, there is Jerry Hosea (Kerzner International), Tobin Prior (Chief Executive Officer, UK Gaming, Kerzner International) and Jayne McGivern (Managing Director, Anschutz Entertainment Group) and then David McCollum is the Director of Strategic Planning at the London Borough of Greenwich and Sir Bob Scott is Chairman of the Greenwich Peninsula Partnership. From Wembley we have, representing the developers and operators, Andrew Tottenham (Caesars Entertainment Inc.) and Nick Shattock (Property Director, Quintain Estates and Development); from Rainham we have Neil Murphy (Director of Development, Sun International), Roger Squire (Development Securities) and Roger McFarland, who is the Head of Regeneration and Partnerships at the London Borough of Havering. For the GLA on this side, representing the Mayor is Andrew Barry-Purssell; Gamcare is represented by Anthony Jennens and the Evangelical Alliance by Jennifer Hogg and Gareth Wallace. Thank you all very much indeed for finding the time to come here today. I thought the best way of setting the scene would be if I asked each of the three individual groups to give a very short presentation. We have a limited amount of time, so I said up to five minutes, just to set the scene and then in order that we have a balance, I will then ask both Gamcare and the Evangelical Alliance to perhaps see if they wanted to make any comments – again, up to a five minute presentation. Then we will move on to the Committee questioning all the various witnesses and if we have time – and I hope we will – we will ask the audience if they want to ask any questions. I am very keen, as is the rest of the Committee, to have as much participation in this as we can. Where are we going to start? Who is doing the slide presentation? It is Neil Murphy; do you want to start then? Neil Murphy (Director of Development, Sun International): Good morning ladies and gentlemen, thank you very much indeed. My name is Neil Murphy and I am Development Director of Sun International. I am very grateful to have been given the opportunity to comment on the issues of regeneration, community impact and location in relation to the possible siting of casinos here in London.
1 Appendix A Economic Development and Planning Committee – 1st March 2005
At Sun International we are acutely aware that it is the responsibility of public authorities to ensure that any casino project maximises the economic benefits whilst minimising any possible negative social impacts. These are not automatic, as they depend on the location in which these facilities are placed. By way of example, I would like to show a few slides of our GrandWest Casino and Entertainment World in Cape Town, located on a formerly disused agricultural showground. The scale of the facility is that which we would intend in London. Here is GrandWest. On the left-hand side is the family entertainment area; to the right-hand side the hotel and here in the centre is the gaming area. This is a night shot. This is about a 500,000 square feet project, about 3,000 car parking spaces in a very, very run-down area. To give you an idea of the scale, and importantly, the scale of the casino in reference to the rest of the complex, on the right-hand side you have a night-time district which is really aimed at over-25 year olds: nightclubs, restaurants, bars, a theatre and hotel. MVG is our most valued guest – other people call them VIP areas. The main casino floor; to the left-hand side, family and conferencing areas. We have two ice-skating rinks: a children’s ice-skating rink and an Olympic size; a seven-screen cinema; a food court; a conference centre. To the left, which is not on this map is a go-karting area and a Magic Kingdom for children. The family area, these are photographs of the inside and outside of the building and various activities that go on. The food court to the bottom right-hand corner and the middle and centre. The conferencing area, seating around 1,500 in conferencing mode; banqueting; a hotel to the right-hand side and this is a 35 key five-star hotel. On the site is also a 120 key City Lodge hotel which is about four-star standard. The night-time district is a very vibrant area, built as an outside inside the building. It is very, very popular in Cape Town. Restaurants with bars, theatres, nightclubs and the main gaming area itself which is themed on the naval port town of Cape Town. It has 1,750 slot machines, 62 tables which is less than we envisage for London which will have 1,250 slot machines, capped by Government legislation. The eating areas that feed off the buffet and feed off the main gaming floor and the MVG areas for rated players. That really gives you a very quick overview of the GrandWest facility. When sizing these facilities, you really try to differentiate three different areas: family areas which we have seen with sports and leisure, ice rinks and cinemas; interactive zone, food courts, education, nature and entertainment. The business areas which are hotel, conferencing and exhibition and multipurpose facilities and the night-time area: the casino, restaurants, night clubs and so forth. This facility in Cape Town was able to act as a huge regenerator to the Cape metropol. Over the 10 years of the exclusivity licence there about one billion will be extracted for the gross domestic product of the province; around 15,000 permanent new jobs, direct and indirect, will be created; about 1.6 million new tourism days per annum will be created; a substantial investment achieved there was £120 million on the facility. Bear in mind, in UK terms you can multiply that by about four. It is cheaper to build in South Africa than here. The bid fee of 13.5 million was invested by the provincial government in the development of roads, healthcare facilities and public safety measures. A further contribution provided typical infrastructure improvements including the security of the road that leads out there. For example we put in CCTV cameras, we re-lit the road and what was previously quite a high crime area is now a very low crime area. The regeneration has been successful. Jayne McGivern (Managing Director, Anschutz Entertainment Group) I am Jayne McGivern. I represent Anschutz Entertainment and we are developers of the Dome. I should start by pointing out that we are not actually casino developers; we specialise in the development of entertainment and leisure and we believe that the casino and our scheme at the Dome is part of an overall integrated scheme rather than a stand-alone exhibit.
I want to start off by reminding everybody that is our site. It covers in total about 80 hectares, which is just under 200 acres. The Dome, obviously, existing and the site comes right down to Greenwich Millennium Village. It is an integrated regeneration scheme which has been very carefully master-planned. By way of a reminder, it will provide 10,000 new homes, 4,000 of which are affordable key worker housing; 7 million square feet of commercial employment space will be created; community use is including schools and healthcare; 48 acres of open land and parkland, and a new landmark hotel complex. It really is a fully integrated regeneration project. Our master plan, which we are very avidly following, basically highlights this. You have the residential clustered here around here around parkland, utilising the riverside. The commercial area forms a barrier between the Dome, which is the entertainment and leisure district and the rest of the Peninsula. It is all held together by a brand new piazza, roughly the size of Leicester Square, which in itself will be fairly spectacular. I have put it pretty large scale – I wanted everyone to have a look here inside the Dome. This is our current thinking. We have the Arena here, for which we are contracted. We started on site and we are building that. That is an Arena that will provide a maximum capacity of 26,000 and it will really be based on business plans based around music. We envisage the casino sitting here at first-floor level so people will make a conscious decision to go into the casino when they enter the Dome. The entry is in here from the plaza. This is a street which we are creating around the Arena. It is roughly a kilometre, just to give you some idea of the scale. It is the width of Oxford Street and we are in effect creating city blocks within the Dome and around the Arena. The facilities we have in here include a live music club for up and coming acts or smaller acts, with a maximum capacity of about 2,000; we have a theatre here – a permanent theatre for music-based shows and around here, this is our building for museumquality exhibition space. Anschutz Entertainment is contracted to bring Tutankhamen back to London in November 2007. We are very hopeful that we can provide a brand new building for that exhibition within the Dome. That gives you a brief overview of what we are doing there. We have about a million and a half square feet of development in total within the Dome, which is after all a 22-acre site. The Arena is 645,000 square feet and the casino is roughly planned to be about 150,000 square feet but that includes all of the back of house and servicing space. The street around the Arena but within the Dome is again roughly another 650,000 square feet of development. We have done a lot of work on this because, as I say, we have started on site so I thought I would put up some images of what we believe it will be like inside the Dome. This is based on the architecture we have designed. We have outline planning consent and we will shortly be going for detailed planning consent. This is the entry plaza, straight on to the Arena, up the stairs to the casino on the left and then you come round to the entertainment district, the street. It is like any other street; it will have street lighting, drainage, fully acoustically sealed buildings. The only difference is that it is covered by a tent. Just a couple more images. That is one area of the street which we are calling the Jazz and Blues area: little jazz clubs, cafés, etc. Just to finish off, one other point I wanted to make is that we know the economic benefits that this scheme will bring. It is a site that we have worked up extensively. We are contracted only on the Arena at the moment. We want to deliver the rest of it and the Arena is the catalyst for the entire Peninsula: the 10,000 homes, 7 million square feet of commercial. Within the Dome itself, the Arena creates 225 full-time jobs; the rest of the street and the casino provides another 3,430 and so the difference between not developing the street, if you like, is over 3,000 jobs.
Nick Shattock (Property Director, Quintain Estates and Development) We are distributing something we submitted as part of our planning application that is now consented. I am going to start by talking about our partners Caesars. It is the most recognised brand in the world for casino and entertainment operation. It is quoted on the New York Stock Exchange; it is primarily institutionally owned and it operates in five countries. It is the only real international casino operator in 17 separate jurisdictions. It has 29 casinos. When it completes the merger with Harrahs it becomes the only large cap casino company in the world and will have between 65-75 casinos worldwide. I will come back to why we chose them but they are, like us, experienced partners of Government in operating casinos. Quintain is a FTSE 250 company, quoted in 1996 and founded in 1992. We are 98% institutionally owned. We are an experienced regulatory partner. We are very proud to be partners of the London Development Agency (LDA) and the GLA at both Wembley and at Silvertown. We are Government’s partner along with Lend Lease and indeed Anschutz on the 14 million square foot Greenwich Peninsula. We achieved two out of the largest three planning consents in UK planning history and the two fastest. We have developed 2.5 million square feet across all the commercial sectors including hotels over the last four years. We have run operational businesses: theatres, pubs, nursing homes, hotels – we built our fourth one recently. We run Wembley Arena, Wembley Conference Centre. We are used to handling huge crowds of 12,500 people three times a week. Both companies are quoted on the Stock Exchange – we will not just be regulated by the Gaming Authority but by the Stock Exchange as well. It is a 50:50 joint venture between the two companies. We think it is a fundamental that the estate and the casino operation are run as one. We are consented for 6.16 million square feet already; eventually it will be 8 million square feet onsite. It is identified as an Opportunity Area under the London Plan. It is identified as an International Leisure Destination under the London Plan but it is part of a wider – we own 70 acres and control them – regeneration of 600 acres in the Wembley area. This is incorporated in your brochure. It is supported by the Brent Vision document; it is supported by Brent’s overall planning strategy and Brent’s submission has already been submitted to you. It is so important that you have 70 acres owned, controlled, patrolled, CCTVed and kept safe and secure throughout this entire process. As an international leisure destination, it cannot be number two or three in the UK; it has to be number one in Europe and that is the scale of our ambition. It is powered by public transport but all our parking studies have already been done and signed off by Government Office for London (GOL), the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM), the GLA and Brent. We are the closest linked to the nation’s artery in terms of road networks as well. It is still a fundamental that Brent has it because we have more than 50% higher than the London average for unemployment so we need this regeneration in any event. We chose Caesars because they are the leader in entertainment and the casino industry rather than anything else because our development is a fusion between music, sports, living, entertainment, shopping, retail and leisure all told. We are already in joint ventures with Brent on job training and we have been chosen with Brent for a pilot project for the Chancellor’s (Gordon Brown) Fair Cities programme. It is all about getting the most culturally diverse borough in London into work at the earliest opportunity. We think our case is fairly simple. It would be the number one offer in the UK; the largest regeneration offer. It would be the largest built. The casino element will only be between 6% and 10% of the overall offer; we want to create London’s convention centre. We will be opening with 2,000-2,500 jobs on day one in a 10,000-job environment. We will be producing 200,000 training hours a year and one of the reasons why we chose Caesars is because if you go to Las Vegas, to
see the multi-cultural employment profile of that company and the ability to get people from the shop floor into significant management jobs over the course of time, and people employed for whom English is their second language, is quite an inspiration. We believe that we are going to be putting £365 million a year into the local economy of Brent. That is probably taking times 10 the contribution of Wembley Stadium. It is the 34 th worst performing retail area in the whole of London; that is the bottom and we will totally change that profile. Anthony Jennens (Gamcare): You have read my submission. Merely to say that I am not here to give anyone a lecture on what problem gambling is or how you can prevent it. Gamcare’s business is to try to prevent people from becoming problem gamblers and if they become so, to try and help cure them. One or two things about our position: we try to steer a neutral course between all branches of the gaming industry. We are not anti-casinos, either in the new form in which they may arrive or in their existing form. Our concern is that gambling should not be too easy to get to. It is ambient and convenience gambling, it is not the method of gambling itself which is dangerous, it is its location. Since what you are looking at today is locations, I would emphasise that is the most important aspect of it. I think there may be some questions on problem gambling and one other is that problem gambling is used as a hook by many people to hang their hat on. Those who just do not like gambling for one reason or another say it will cause problem gambling. That probably is not the case but that is the best way they can get at it. All branches of the industry tend to say it is the other people who cause problem gambling, not us. That again is not entirely true. All gambling will somehow or other lead to problem gambling if it is not properly checked. There is no reason why a big casino should cause any more trouble than one fruit machine in a supermarket. It is a gambling opportunity. Understand that when you make a decision to go through the doors of a big casino, you are making a decision to gamble. The fact that that there are 1,250 machines there or one machine, does not really make a light of difference and that should not be in the equation. Gareth Wallace (Parliamentary Officer, Evangelical Alliance) My name is Gareth Wallace; I am the Parliamentary Officer for the Evangelical Alliance in Westminster. We are a Christian membership organisation representing somewhere over one million Christians across the UK. In London, we represent somewhere in the region of over 300 churches as actual members of our organisation and that is, as a ballpark figure, somewhere around 75,000 church members. Of course there are many more people from other faith groups and other community groups who have expressed privately to me their support for our position and proposals. We have worked alongside other Christian groups such as the Methodist Church and The Salvation Army in lobbying on our concerns with the Bill in Westminster. The Salvation Army commissioned an NOP survey some time ago that said 93% of people in the UK were against the idea of casino expansion, but the same NOP survey suggested that 82% of the population felt that people were more likely to lose money if they drank alcohol while gambling. 56% of the population and 64% of women would not be happy for a casino to open near where they live. Therefore there are concerns around the issue of casinos and gambling. We are not opposed to the Bill absolutely; we welcome many of the aspects contained in the Bill but we do have concerns and we are grateful to the Government for having met with us on numerous occasions and also for having conceded on some of our points. Our particular focus as the Evangelical Alliance, as Jennifer (Hogg) will explain in a minute, has been on planning law and the planning aspects of casino development. Thank you. Dee Doocey (Chair): You will bear in the mind that this Scrutiny is just about casinos; it is not about anything wider.
Jennifer Hogg (Evangelical Alliance): I would like to thank you for the privilege of being here and just clarify that I am not a Parliamentary Officer; I am a volunteer. I am driven, as we are, by a passion for people and community. This is something that churches understand deeply. We invest heavily in community and I am sure there cannot be a London borough that is not indebted in some way to church and faith groups for toddler groups, parenting courses, lunch clubs and pensioner programmes, not to mention our unrivalled infrastructure of local community buildings dotted everywhere. We understand what builds community and understand what breaks the community; hence our concern about any rise in problem gambling. That is an urgent concern to us. I have several years’ experience of casino-planning applications, as experienced on the ground at grass-roots level, and that is what brings me here today. I am very aware that I am used to being the planning bore, and when you talk about planning, people’s eyes usually glaze over. Hopefully in this august Assembly that will not be the case. Our concern is the local community, and we are alarmed at what might happen as in other countries when communities embrace casinos as a route to regeneration. We do not want to see any London borough become another statistic in social collapse. However, we have some practical points we would like to examine in reviewing these marvellous proposals. Regeneration: how do you see it working? Jobs created, impact on local businesses. We fear that jobs are simply displaced from existing local businesses. We are very interested to probe further on the visitor profile of some of these developments: how many hours drive time do people expect their customers to come from; what is the profile of visitors? We fear that visitors come from afar for the high-end leisure facilities – the shows and swimming pools and so on – and it is the local people who primarily form a very large proportion of the gambling spend. Therefore the local community pays more than the visitors. We are also anxious about use of Planning Obligations Section 106. We are aware that given the sums involved, cash-strapped boroughs might be tempted by offers and we think it is vital that planning consent is never bought or sold. Finally, we do not want local communities to fall down the gap between planning and licensing. It has been our experience if planning consent is gained, it can be played off against all the other consents that a complex development must receive. Therefore the argument is, well we have our planning consent – we must have a licence. However, planning does not consider the social impact fully as licensing does and we would urge you and plead, would you please make sure that planning and licensing are resolved and considered simultaneously so that the triple lock of safeguards does not become a triple whammy. We really think local communities must have a chance to consider all the issues in the round and I am very thankful to the London Assembly for the opportunity to do that. Thank you. Dee Doocey (Chair): Thank you very much. Could I perhaps start by saying in most of the written evidence we have seen, there has been quite large projected expenditures for visitors coming, particularly to the big regional casinos. I am interested to know how much of that money is actually going to filter down into local communities and how much of it is going to be taken as profit by casino operators. If I could address that initially to Rainham, please. Neil Murphy (Sun International): Visitor numbers in Rainham – at the moment we are going through the architectural process. The exact components, both commercial and of community benefit, have not yet been decided. That is a six-month study, to complete that. If I can, by way of example, use the Cape Town which will be a similar sized facility, with very similar commercial inputs inside the facility, you have obviously the taxes. The casino component will have an annual turnover of approximately £100 million. These businesses – casino businesses – operate at about a 30% earnings before interest, taxes and depreciation (EBITDA). Therefore you are going to see wages and goods and services procured, targeted in the local community, in
particular the Thames Gateway from Rainham’s perspective and Havering Borough and the neighbouring boroughs of Barking, Dagenham and Newham, of around £60 million. That is notwithstanding the fact that our proposals will include enhancement of the nature reserve that is planned on the Rainham Marshes and various other elements that would attract further tourism into that particular part of London. As yet, the full economic impact study which we will complete at the end of the architectural process and the community engagement process will throw up further sums which will enhance the area. Dee Doocey (Chair): Just to summarise, to answer my question of how much will go to the local economy, are you saying that £60 million out of £100 million will go to the local economy and £40 million will go to the operators. Is that right? No. Neil Murphy (Sun International): No, it is not quite right because that is EBITDA before depreciation. We anticipate through wages and procurement at this early stage that the casino will account for £60 million. The other commercial elements of the Arena conferencing, etc., we are not at this stage in a position to say so, but believe me, the economic impact study would fully show the amount of inward investment to the local area. Dee Doocey (Chair): Therefore, you cannot give an order of magnitude? Neil Murphy (Sun International): We are not as advanced as the Dome, we are not as advanced as Wembley. Dee Doocey (Chair): Can anyone say specifically in answer to this question, how much of this money is going to filter to the local economy and how much is going to be kept by the operators? Andrew Tottenham (Caesars Entertainment Inc.): Perhaps I could take that. We are working a little bit in a fluid environment. We just do not know what the tax rate will be and that will impact a lot of our models and the impact on what we build will be dependent on the tax rate. What I can say is that if you look at payroll and procurement of goods and services, we do have a procure-locally policy. There will be far more going into the local economy than will recouped by the operator/developer of the property. We just do not know what the equation is yet. Until the tax rate is set, our models are somewhat fluid as to visitor numbers, spends, etc., because that is all influenced by that. Dee Doocey (Chair): There must be – somebody somewhere must have done some sort of calculation so you can say we are going to make money out of this. Is there no order of magnitude of how much money might go to the operators and how much might go to the local economy? Tobin Prior (Chief Executive Officer, UK Gaming, Kerzner International): If I could maybe answer in addition to what has been said already. There is not a final answer because you are asking quite a definitive and quite a broad question. The tax rates are not yet clear s o it is not sure what casinos are going to hold, because it depends on what the tax man is going to take. That has not been clarified yet. I think you have heard comment that typically casinos operate on 30% margins. That is before financing charges and that is before tax. You then diminish that 30% by whatever the tax and financing charges are and then you get to a number. I think what is very clear in all the instances of schemes that are here is that the wage bills are going to be in excess of £30 million, which is a direct benefit to the local economy. That is going to be way in excess of whatever the profit is that is held by the operators, which is going to be giving a fair return to investors. Just on that alone, there is gong to be far more benefit to the community. Then you leverage on top of that all the other local sourcing and ancillary activities. I do not think any of us have fully finalised our schemes yet in terms of the exact food and beverage
offerings or the pricing thereof so it is difficult to give definitive numbers at this stage. I do not think anyone is trying to butt the question. Sally Hamwee (AM): I really wanted to try and understand what is meant by regeneration in this context. I would like to hear from people on the right and the left on this. I think we as a Committee would be thinking both about physical and economic regeneration. It is quite a difficult question because two of our sets of witnesses are working in a physical context which is quite well developed and I want to distinguish the casino from the rest of the developments. Can you talk a bit more about the level of jobs which will be created; who might take them up and comment on my observation that a lot of these will be part of the night-time economy. How does that fit it with what is going on locally? I hope that is clear. It is intended to be broad. I do not know who wants to start. Jayne McGivern (Anschutz Entertainment Group): It is very hard – I cannot speak for my colleagues along the table – but it is very hard to take the casino out of the overall equation because the casino is part of the mix of things that form the regeneration. In the instance of our own project at the Dome, the inclusion of the casino drives the development of the hotel and the development of the hotel drives a lot of the other businesses that are created to make it a destination premier entertainment and leisure district, not only for London but for the UK and in our case, with our very close proximity to City Airport, for Europe too. Therefore it is really hard to say, ‘Well the casino does this’, because on its own, the casino does not. It is part of an overall mix that forces the regeneration of the entire scheme. Sally Hamwee (AM): Perhaps you could comment then about the type of jobs that are going to be available? About the night-time economy, about the shifts worked and whether they are going to be good jobs. Jayne McGivern (Anschutz Entertainment Group): Sure. If I start off by saying they are first of all full-time. Second, skilled but you do not necessarily have to have a university degree to take one of these jobs. Certainly in our instance we are working very closely, as I believe Nick (Shattock) mentioned he is with Brent, with Greenwich Local Labour and Business (GLLaB) at the London Borough of Greenwich to instigate training courses specifically for the sort of businesses we are creating. It is our intention to use local labour wherever local labour is available. Sally Hamwee (AM): You mean in operating as well as construction? Jayne McGivern (Anschutz Entertainment Group): Yes, yes. The numbers I quoted earlier are long-term operating jobs. If you throw in the construction jobs on top of that there is another few thousand to talk about. I do want to get over the fear that it is all croupiers and it is nighttime, night club jobs, because it is not. The hotel for example that we are developing – an iconic piece of architecture, a five-star hotel – creates hotel management jobs, they are training people to work in that particular industry. In our street there are day-time destinations and the exhibition space for example is largely a family-orientated day-time business. Therefore, the jobs cover a huge spectrum – right from running the laundry business to creating a health spa. Therefore it is not really a night-time darkness job creation scheme. Andrew Tottenham (Caesars Entertainment Inc.): Could I say that first of all, yes, obviously some of those jobs will be night-time jobs. Some of those will be shift work or part-time work if people require it, which happens to be very useful for people who have children. We do have people who work for us in America and all the operations around the world who actually find it quite convenient. Just to give you an indication of the types of job available, and I concur exactly with what Jayne (McGivern) is saying, is that this is an opportunity to get people in at the ground level and to move upwards with training through the facility. I started my life as a blackjack
dealer and I have worked my way up. I consider myself to be reasonably successful at what I do. However, let me give you an indication of the jobs. Yes, there is gaming, there are slot technicians, Human Resources and Personnel, IT, technical services, security, surveillance, marketing, legal, finance and administration, hotel services, food and beverage purchasing and accounting. There is a long list of people. We take people from the local community. If they want to work, we train them and we do put them in those positions. That is the policy we employ. Nick Shattock (Quintain Estates and Development): This is a totally new industry so when you open with 2,500 jobs you have to train them over six months because this industry does not exist. If you produce a convention space, and it is London’s convention space, you bring in economic tourism which does not exist in London to a greater or lesser extent, other than in the West End. Therefore it is a total change about London’s offer of being able to host international convention centres and that is what we want to bring to Wembley. However, there will also be regeneration benefits to transport and to the local infrastructure from the planning game packages; £365 million into the local economy at least. Roger McFarland (Head of Regeneration & Partnerships, London Borough of Havering): I think in terms of the profile of employment, local recruitment and local training, the position will be exactly the same in the proposal at Rainham as they would be in the other two locations. I would like to comment on the almost philosophical question of what is meant by regeneration here. The appeal of the proposals for Rainham is that firstly you add a great deal to the casino developments. As Neil Murphy’s slides showed, there is a great deal more to it than a casino. That comes as part of the development package. In addition in Rainham you are talking about using this as the catalyst to redevelop 60 acres of very poorly degraded industrial land right next to what should be London’s premier nature reserve on Rainham Marshes. This is an area which because of market failure and a lack of public investment is providing incredibly difficult to get started and what we think London should do is to use the opportunity – which will be a rare one – of regional casinos to kick start the regeneration of the whole outer section of the Thames Gateway which is what it would do for us, rather than just using it as a bolt-on to something that is happening elsewhere where the regeneration process is already under way. As I say, the appeal is that it is bigger than a casino; it regenerates the surrounding area and in addition it changes market perceptions and the investment climate so that hopefully we get this difficult outer area of the Thames Gateway going. David McCollum (Director of Strategic Planning, London Borough of Greenwich): should say that the London Borough of Greenwich has not taken a formal view and as Director of Strategic Planning in Greenwich it may well be that I will have to give consideration to a planning application. Therefore I will not come down and give a view one way or another on this. What I would say, just to come back to this matter of regeneration, Greenwich Peninsula is a hugely important regeneration site to Greenwich and we believe to London and the Thames Gateway. The state that the Greenwich waterfront was in 10 or 15 years ago, following the departure of the biggest gas works in Europe, was very large quantities of contaminated land and male unemployment rates of 60%. This was the state of our borough. What we have seen in the Dome is the development of an installation which will become something quite different from anything similar in this country at the moment. There is no Arena of 26,000 people in comparable form in England, let alone in London. The importance of that, and those things that will go with it in regenerating the area, because alongside that are coming 10,000 new dwellings: the London Borough of Greenwich last year granted planning permission for in excess of 15,000 new dwellings and there are 2,000 new dwellings under construction. We expect to see from Greenwich Peninsula alone, on which 10,000 of those dwellings are approved, something like 25,000 new jobs. We have advanced processes of local labour agreements with developers including those I sit with today. Very substantial sums of money have been agreed as part of that development so the transport provision was made
available and remains available. The issue we will be addressing is the importance of the casino in the creation of the international destination that the developers and indeed the London Borough of Greenwich seek. The issue is how important is that casino, how desirable is it, what comes with it. We have heard that the 600-bedroom hotel is linked to it; that there are many provisions of leisure and retail that would create this cluster, which would provide this destination. Therefore in regenerative terms we think there is a very clear argument and can see that Greenwich would be considered for such a casino because of those things. What the council will have to consider as the planning authority is of course what the impact of those would be; how desirable the casino element of it is; how important the casino element of it is to the rest of it making sense. You have heard about that today and so have we and we may have to consider that in formal session. Joanne McCartney (AM): I have two questions – one on the job front and one on the regeneration aspect. Perhaps I could ask the casino operators if after this meeting you could provide further written evidence about the type of jobs you will be creating and in particular, the average wages those workers could be expected to receive. I think there is a perception out there that casinos do tend to generate lots of low-paid, low-skilled jobs and I am quite reassured by what you were saying about the skilling but perhaps if you can provide a few figures, that would be useful. Secondly on the regeneration aspect, I think Neil Murphy told us earlier in his presentation on South Africa that the local government had put in £150 million for the transport infrastructure. Neil Murphy (Sun International): No, they received from us. Joanne McCartney (AM): They received. I wanted to ask about the infrastructure that has to go in to support your commercial ventures. Invariably, Section 106 monies do not cover the full cost of any infrastructure that is needed. I am just wondering how much do you expect your operations to cost the local borough in providing those infrastructures for you? Neil Murphy ( Sun International): Nothing. The short answer to your question. Let me just touch on this point of regeneration and what is it. Sally Hamwee (AM): I wanted to make sure that we hear that the jobs that will be created will be new jobs rather than displacement from other activities. Neil Murphy (Director of Development, Sun International): Regeneration in our company’s view is really threefold. First of all we understand it is about jobs. Let us be quite clear about the jobs in a casino/entertainment environment. The casino will not account for 2,500 jobs; the majority of jobs, or at least half the jobs, come from other facilities: the arenas; the hotels; the night-time districts; the ice rinks; the community benefits; the transportation and the infrastructure, etc. They are permanent jobs; they are extremely well trained jobs and they are very well paid jobs. Your paper will no doubt prove that. It is important to realise that part of regeneration is about the empowerment of local communities. It is about a community and uplifting that community to aim higher and to have a critical path that will take them higher. Therefore your training programmes are not about training someone to be a croupier. Ultimately, as my chief executive in South Africa says, it is about training someone to do my job, no matter where they start. Therefore you create a critical path for them, a career path, from the very early stages, to take them forward to management positions. If they wish to stay as a croupier or as an attendant or a pit boss then so be it; that is their choice. It is empowering an individual. When you take regeneration to an area you give employees the opportunity of taking control of their own careers. That is the job side of it.
Architecturally, you build nice buildings. They are sustainable buildings. They are environmentally and ecologically sound so they do not add a negative to the environment in which they are placed. You are attempting when locating in a restricted licensed environment in which they are going to be in the UK, to choose an area which has really suffered through lack of investment. It has tried and it has failed. To be frank, I am a Londoner. I was born and bred here; I lived not far from Barking and Dagenham and was born there. I have seen that area decline over the years. It is taking an area that has suffered from regeneration. We have looked at more than 50 or 60 sites in London and we came back all the time to this area of London, the Thames Gateway, which is the major focus for the regeneration. Therefore architecturally, with the community’s benefit – to be frank, you saw the pictures of our Cape Town project. That started as something very, very different. It was put through a local community programme and they said give us back the original buildings of Cape Town. Give us back District Six, the Post House, the Standard Bank, the Grand Hotel. These were buildings that were destroyed during the apartheid era. We rebuilt them to the original plans; we rebuilt the façade. It is not a Disney World-type thing. They are the original buildings of Cape Town. In consequence, the Cape Townians in a brand audit last year now believe that facility is theirs and we just run it for them. They believe it is theirs. Lastly, you come onto the community side of regeneration. You are as an operator and as an owner/developer, of which we are all three, are developing an area in which you have a 30-50 year game plan. In other words you have to have a continual evolvement with the local community and you have to pick projects in which you are benefiting the community at all times. Therefore the first two link into the third part. The primary concern through all this is responsible gaming. Joanne McCartney (AM): Can I just ask, with regard to my question about how much it would cost local councils to put into this venture, you said none. Have you given a guarantee to the council that you would fund all the transport infrastructure? Neil Murphy (Sun International): Absolutely. Joanne McCartney (AM): You have. Gareth Wallace (Parliamentary Officer, Evangelical Alliance): I would just draw attention to Union of Shop Distributive and Allied Workers’s (USDAW) submission to the first Committee report in the Joint Committee to the House of Commons and the House of Lords and they point out in number 11 with regard to Detroit, that after several years of operation, they reported a substantial increase in problem gambling but no measurable increase in the amount of trade in local shops and restaurants. In section 30 of the same report, they also refer to Atlantic City and state that two out of three hotel rooms were offered free to gamblers. It is a key concern, this idea of subsidy and the idea that you can have a very cheap holiday in Las Vegas because the hotels are perhaps subsidised by the casino venture. This comes to the nub of the argument about displacement. It is what actually happens, allegedly, that jobs are simply displaced from existing businesses across. The other point I would like to make is in Quintain’s submission to this Committee, they estimated 2,500 new jobs or 2,100 pro rata. Based on the pro rata figure and the total wage bill, I just want some clarification on this. Some simple maths brought me out at an average wage of £14,285 based on that total amount of wages into the local economy. I would just like some clarification perhaps on the actual pay scales involved in the various jobs that are being offered. Andrew Tottenham (Caesars Entertainment Inc.): In terms of jobs, jobs are well paid and in fact, Unite Here! which is the union – and we recognise unions in the United States, as do many of our competitors – came and made a presentation in this country on behalf of the GMB Union.
They said casino jobs pay on average about $5,000 a year more than equivalent jobs outside the casino industry. Dee Doocey (Chair): Is this figure that Gareth has come up with incorrect? Andrew Tottenham (Caesars Entertainment Inc.): Well, you have to be careful about modelling. We have a fluid model. There are full-time equivalents. Yes, we will be paying, I am sure, because we are going to be recruiting, we will probably be one of the best paid employers in the area. That is the first point. Secondly, take Atlantic City. I lived in Atlantic City in 1977 before the casinos opened. The problem people have when they look at Atlantic City is that they look at a microcosm – they do not look at what has actually occurred. Around Atlantic City the communities that are there just were not there. Atlantic City today is a better place than it was in 1977. All I can remember from 1977 is burnt-out cars and broken glass. That is all I can remember about that place. Today it is a much better place and the communities around it, all the way from Cape May all the way up through Absecon County are just – there is no comparison. The money that goes into those communities is exceptional. During the winter months, yes, Atlantic City is cold. Not many people go there in the winter months and stay in the hotels midweek and yes, they do give them away. At the weekends, you cannot get a room. There is a higher room rate in Atlantic City at the weekends than in New York City. It is quite simple. There is a demand. Tobin Prior (Kerzner International): It does seem to be that quality of job issues is a recurring theme here. I am very happy to submit further evidence as requested. I can assure you the evidence if very clear. The jobs are high paying and they are higher than the average. Our calculation for London is around £19,000 so I am happy to share those details. Bob Blackman (AM): If we move on to some of the potential problem areas caused by casinos, and if we can start with the Dome and then move to Wembley and through to Rainham. How would you deal with the alleged problem areas of potentially organised crime moving in; money laundering; the potential increase in prostitution and the increase in the drugs trade? Those are three key issues that obviously are of concern. Tobin Prior (Kerzner International): If you would like me to respond to that, because you have raised three pretty significant issues. I think this issue of money laundering is possibly the easiest to deal with and I would like to go on to the broader aspect of crime. It is a very strict moneylaundering directive that applies specifically to casinos. Interestingly enough, in this country it does not apply to other forms of gambling. Casinos themselves are highly regulated in terms of money laundering, in terms of secondly the EU Directive and there is more than sufficient regulation to deal with any money laundering or proceeds from crime. There is very little evidence at the moment to suggest there is any money laundering going on in casinos. If there is anything to the contrary, we will happily deal with that. This concept that these kind of facilities lead to increased crime is also not supported by the evidence – certainly not recent evidence – anywhere in the world. Where these big, highly secure, multi-purpose facilities are built they are very secure; they have a high level of resources allocated to security and to creating a safe environment. In fact, normally car crime and all those sorts of things go down and a lot of people visit these casino centres because of the fact that they are safe. South Africa is a very good example of that. Therefore again, I am not aware of too much evidence to support increases in crime. As for prostitution, which is an illegal activity, it certainly would not be taking place anywhere near any of our operations and we do not have this hassle in any other jurisdictions in which we operate. I think it is a myth – I think it is quite a demonising concept. I am not aware it is
associated with casinos in this country and it certainly is not associated with casinos where we operate. Jayne McGivern ( Anschutz Entertainment Group): I wonder if I could just very briefly add to that. The Dome itself – our absolute objective with that entertainment and leisure district, which the casino is part of, is a very, very safe environment. Our concern about security and making everybody feel that is somewhere regardless of your age, sex or any other issues, you can go there and feel entirely safe and secure. We as a company, we are in for the long term. We are a 50-year player as well and we own, develop and operate all of our facilities. That includes the Dome and everything within it. Rest assured that none of those activities will be happening there. Anthony Jennens (Gamcare): On the question of crime, prostitution and drugs, etc., from all we know, there is not likely to be any increase in street or that variety of crime because casinos make sure it does not happen. On the question of drugs, and other addictions as well, there are very few people who can afford to be gamblers and drug addicts at the same time. Dee Doocey (Chair):I like your logic. Andrew Tottenham (Caesars Entertainment Inc.): Just organised crime. Organised crimes and casinos do not go together. It is a myth. Dee Doocey (Chair): Do not go together? Andrew Tottenham (Caesars Entertainment Inc.): They do not go together. All our companies are regulated. There will be a Gambling Commission. We will have to go through strict probity checks which we do in every other jurisdiction in which we operate and organised crime is not involved in the casino industry. Dee Doocey (Chair): It is interesting, that from an outsider’s point of view, any time one hears the word casinos, organised crime sort of goes with it. Nick Shattock (Quintain Estates and Development): That is a 1940s Bugsy Segal story. We are quoted on the Stock Exchange. We have gone through a huge compliance issue with Caesars. For them to risk their licences in America and get involved with us, and vice versa – we are more intensively regulated by the London Stock Exchange and the New York Stock Exchange which are hopefully fairly free of organised crime. Nick Shattock (Quintain Estates and Development): I wanted to bring in a couple of other points. If you have 70 acres of CCTVed closed circuit throughout a casino process, where you have it heavily staffed and monitored patrol on a 24 hour basis on a 70 acre environment, safe and secure where people are shopping, living and visiting every single day, there cannot be a more silly place to either go and do drugs, prostitution or crime of whatsoever nature. We are entirely convinced that this is not creating a microcosm, it is not spreading stuff outside, which is the point that Councillor Blackman has previously made in his comments outside this room because of cooperation with the police, car park control zones, etc. These are totally new environments where the chances of these sorts of issues occurring are just zero. Andrew Barry-Purssell (Business Manager, Economic & Business Policy, Mayor’s Office): Chair, in the work the Mayor has done on casinos, we have been advised by the Metropolitan Police Clubs and Vice Unit, who, as you would anticipate, have views on this subject, that in London, organised crime in casinos is actually a 1960s image. The Metropolitan Police successfully cleared organised crime out of London casinos since then and is obviously very keen to make sure that it does not find its way back in. I think from their point of view, the important thing when deregulation was first talked about, was that we had a smaller number of larger
casinos operated by reputable operators who would have the sort of systems you have heard that operators on this scale typically do have. I have seen their surveillance suites and it is quite true, when you walk in the front door you are watched virtually every step until you walk out again. That sort of framework – you need to be confident the operators will do that. You need to make sure that the licensing is done properly and you have to make sure that those who are licensed get advice from people who know what they are talking about. Clearly, we do not want organised crime to find its way back in. One way that could happen is if you had a lot of small casinos, particularly it is mentioned in the Evangelical Alliance’s written submission – and in ours as well – that had the planning position been that anybody who had leisure premises of a sufficient size could convert them to a casino without need for planning permission, you could have all sorts of people operating casinos who may think it is a licence to print money, may find it is not and who may then find they are open to being leant on by people with sinister intent. One thing that we have to bear in mind is that certainly the large casino operators work in an international environment. The regulators talk to each other. If you have a regulatory problem in one country, that gets around the enforcement community extremely quickly. It is clearly not something anyone can afford to be complacent about but it is something that we looked at and something that decision-makers need to be alive to. Neil Murphy (Sun International): I just want to leave the Committee with one thought. The casino is an adult environment. The rest of the facilities proposed – and I think we are all the same – are a family and children’s environment. If we let drugs and prostitution and we did not pay attention to those issues and responsible gaming, we are going to fail. We are responsible, well regulated businesses and as managers of that business we have a duty, both in our regulation as well as to our shareholders. It is in our interests to keep them clean, safe, fun places. To quote Tessa Jowell (Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport), to bring modern casinos into the ‘mainstream leisure activity.’ That would be the intention. Bob Blackman (AM): If we could move on to another particular area, which I think is important, is how the various proposals, because all these proposals as I understand them, encompass residential developments as well. If they do not, they will have an impact on local residents. If yours does not have an impact on local residents, then we will focus in on the Dome and Wembley and how those proposals would minimise any impact to local residents who want to go about their normal lives, as a result of these developments. Nick Shattock (Quintain Estates and Development): Wembley is a metropolitan area. It is an urban environment and it is well served by public transport and it is identified by the Mayor as an Opportunity Area in need of major regeneration. Our proposal is on 70 acres but it is a scale that is quite hard to understand because it is bigger than Leicester Square, Trafalgar Square, Soho Square and Covent Garden and all the land and buildings in between. Therefore if someone wants to make a decision to go to a casino, they would either have to walk down a street which is 75% the length of the Mall, up Regent Street but it is longer, or alternatively cross something 75% the size of Trafalgar Square to make that conscious decision to gamble. Therefore, the scale of the opportunity means there will be no interference with the daily lives of residents in the area. New residents coming into the area will have made a decision to come to a relatively lively environment of shops, restaurants, entertainment and music and they will have bought into that concept but they will still be immune to the casino issue. Before you ask the second element of people who are on lower wages who might be in affordable housing. The easiest thing to do in Brent if you do not have much money to gamble is to buy a lottery ticket and Gamcare will almost certainly tell you that is where those on the lowest incomes spend their gambling money, or in one of the 58 betting shops that are within the immediate walking catchment area of Wembley plus the unregulated mini-cab shops and chip
shops, etc. The point about a casino, and I hate using the word casino – it is all about a convention, entertainment and hotel space. We are not going to do the hotel later, it is all going to be delivered on day one – is you are making a very specific decision to go into what will be a high-class social environment which is a totally different environment to those who go upstairs and turn the computer on and gamble £3 billion a year on internet gambling. It is not a spontaneous or ‘I am tempted because I am on my way to work’; it is a major issue about how you are encouraged to make it a social event because you go into a restaurant, etc. Jayne McGivern (Anschutz Entertainment Group): I am going to be really brief, Chair. I echo everything that Nick (Shattock) says except that I topped it his 70 acres with my 200. Nick (Shattock) owns the residential bit and therefore I am fairly certain he would not be letting me develop a big entertainment district if he could not sell his houses. In effect, we have a big buffer – 7 million square feet of commercial that sits between the entertainment district and the residential, and that is kind of the size of Canary Wharf. Sir Bob Scott (Chairman, Greenwich Peninsula Partnership): Can I just say from the Peninsula Partnership which includes the private sector, community groups and all kinds of forces, that one of the attractions of this whole concept of a destination is that it is actually a destination. The anti-social concept of drop-in, walk past, walk in does not apply and it has always been seen by the people of Greenwich, even in its rehearsal period for its year as the Dome, as somewhere that was in a sense complete in itself. This will be bigger, it will have a hotel, it will spread a little further out, but it will not, I believe, have that same kind of wrong magnetic effect to the casual person using their wage packet. It will be somewhere you deliberately and specifically go to. Angie Bray (AM): I get the feeling here that what you are saying really is these destinations should be, if you like, slightly self-contained, possibly slightly isolated, so that they do not actually impact – and many of them will not because they are exactly that – on local communities. However, I speak for the area of west London and of course the possibility of Olympia, which is much closer to residential communities and I wonder if what you are saying… I think it was Nick (Shattock) who said those moving into an area will know that they are buying into a much livelier sort of ambience. That is fine for the few who are going in there but if you are setting up a large casino in what is still quite a residential area, are you saying there would be problems? That is obviously a concern that my residents have. Nick Shattock (Quintain Estates and Development): I think it is entirely inappropriate for me to say anything about Olympia. What I would say though is that this process is going to be one of massive consultation with local authorities and with local people. We did six months of consultation on our first planning consent of 5.5 million square feet. We had nearly 7,000 people who came through our doors and saw the whole development process going forward and we had reactions from every single one of those documented and all those were submitted to the views of the local community as fundamental to this process. Jennifer Hogg (Evangelical Alliance): I find it fascinating that casino operators are trying to get away from a casino. I think that is amazing. Nick Shattock (Quintain Estates and Development): I think that is a very unfair thing to say because we are talking about 7% of a build mass of £350-400 million. Jennifer Hogg (Evangelical Alliance): We still have not heard a clear response as to how the spend is distributed in visitors because I still think those who come from far and wide for the high-end stuff and I am worried that local community people will still walk up those streets for the gambling and provide most of the money. Therefore, where the money is coming from is our deep concern. As regards consultation on planning, it comes back to the whole issue of planning, licensing and social impact. Planning applications often do not consider social impact and
planning officers run a mile from anyone who wants to mention problem gambling. We really would love to see all of this considered as a whole. We do not want the fact that planning consent, outline or otherwise, already exists to influence our wider consideration of the social effect on the local community and their ability even to object. We found we had a very limited ability to object because we cannot raise social issues in a planning forum. Therefore we really need those to be held together. Roger McFarland (London Borough of Havering): To complete the picture in Rainham, the casino development will be physically separate from the nearest residential property by the Fenchurch Street railway, the Channel Tunnel Rail Link and then some distance beyond. It will be very much the case there of specific trips being made in order to visit the casino. The other thing I should say is perhaps unusually in Rainham the casino proposals are extremely popular. People are excited and enthusiastic within the local community about these proposals, which is why the council found it easy to support them. Angie Bray (AM): I do not think you are perhaps competent to answer my particular point about the particular one where there is much closer proximity to the residential area. I wonder if Andrew Barry-Purssell or the Mayor’s Office has given thought to whether it is not just desirable but actually essential that such developments do take place with a clear distance from large residential communities? Andrew Barry-Purssell (Mayor’s Office): That is an enormously difficult question to answer in the abstract. For similar reasons, the application may well come to the Mayor to be considered and I do not think I ought to express a view one way or the other on the particular case that you have raised, either. An awful lot depends on precisely what is proposed, where it is proposed and the nature of the community in which it sits. That is why I think the nature of local decisionmaking, which has been raised here, is so critical. There is a limited amount of control that you can have on those detailed developmental type points at a strategic level. That is for example why the Mayor has been so keen to make sure that Change of Use Classes Order was made so that all proposals do need a planning application and do need these sorts of things to be looked into. I would not like to give a blanket answer to that question. Angie Bray (AM): I understand but I think there is a point I have raised that perhaps people here are not necessarily competent to answer. Andrew Barry-Purssell (Mayor’s Office): The other important thing to bear in mind is that there are a number different… The triple locks that were referred to. There are different tiers of control here. Planning is not the only one. There is also the site licensing by borough councils that has to be looked into and there is also the point that operators have to be licensed so they are fit and proper people to run a casino. I think it is important that these sorts of considerations are looked at at each level. It has always struck me that if problem gambling is something you want to control, just the location of it is a pretty blunt instrument and can never be a sufficient measure in itself. You have to look at it across all three angles. Angie Bray (AM): We talked about the crime aspects and prostitution, which are the obvious problems associated with casinos, but I think what people perhaps do not give enough thought to is where there is a residential community is things like noise, taxis coming and going. It is doors banging, it is people leaving late at night. Those are clearly things my residents are extremely concerned about. Bob Blackman (AM): If we could just move on to really a broader area, we have heard the main thrust and we are zeroing in obviously on casinos for these particular proposals. We have also heard how important it is that these casinos would be allowed. What I would now like to ask is, what the impact would be on the various regeneration schemes if the gaming legislation does not
become law or the local authorities decide a casino should not be sited within its regeneration scheme. Neil Murphy (Sun International): If the law is not passed, I am afraid to say we are out of here. It will not happen in this site in Rainham and it will be as it is in perpetuity probably. Jayne McGivern (Anschutz Entertainment Group): I would say in our particular case – as you have heard, we are already contracted to build our Arena. The National Audit Office, one of our partners with Government in the Arena, has made an assessment of the business and they have concluded that the Arena – I have a handout which I will give to you later – will struggle if it sits there all on its own and certainly in that instance, we will not have the funds which we are providing internally to develop our vision for the whole district in such a short period of time. It will take a much, much longer time to do. Nick Shattock (Quintain Estates and Development): We are just at the start of a 600-acre regeneration and it needs to be a tremendous kick-start so it is not just about the 70 acres that we control and 42 of those have already been consented. What I do think it is about is whether it is, as the Mayor has described it, an international leisure destination because it just then becomes something that is of London significance. If we do not get a casino then it is no longer a nationally significant leisure destination and the amount of money we can invest into infrastructure, jobs and training, and just opening – and this is why Number 11 finds us so exciting in the context of Fair Cities and Brent’s allocation along with Birmingham as a pilot study – 2,500 new jobs on day one in the most culturally diverse community with expertise and English as a second language and that whole process. It would just be hugely devastating for the ambitions of the project. The GLA has spent £100 million on Wembley already. That is more than they have spent on the Olympics and stadiums do not regenerate areas. Gareth Wallace (Evangelical Alliance): Yes, I am just intrigued again. I am sorry for interrupting earlier but the 5-10% – it seems that one minute we are talking about not wanting to mention casinos and the next minute casinos are central to the financial stability of these developments. I think some of the diagrams we have been shown are fantastic – I would love to go and visit it. I am not quite sure that casinos are essential to something that seems so obviously large and well funded. Peter Hulme Cross (AM): We just heard that if you take the casino aspect out of these developments, they become much less viable. The message I am getting is if the casino is not there, you are not really that interested. We are talking about gambling, which by its nature you could argue is an addictive pursuit. It is not unlike alcoholism in some respects that once some people start they cannot stop; sometimes once people start they find they cannot stop pouring money into it because they think they are going to get something out so they end up much impoverished. They spend money perhaps they cannot afford. Is this not another way, to put it crudely, of fleecing the punter and making a huge profit out of it all? Anthony Jennens (Gamcare): I think the arguments you make about gambling addiction as a generality may be fair, and the analogy with alcohol, but I do not think you can target specifically any of the schemes for London that are represented here or any of the others. I do not think they pose any more or less of a threat, in fact rather less of a threat, than for example the High Street gambling opportunities that are available and particularly the internet. It would be wrong, simply because of the physical size of one of these developments, which could conceivably do good in the community, to pick on them because they are so recognisable and say that is the Devil. That would be wrong. Andrew Tottenham (Caesars Entertainment Inc.): Let us talk about problem gambling. I think Caesars has a pretty good record on problem gambling. First of all, problem gambling in
this country is less than 1% of the population with the gambling we have here today. The second thing is that it is a bit simplistic to say that because I increase the supply I am going to increase the problem. The problem exists and it is usually a problem of cross-dependency: it is alcohol use, drug abuse and gambling. We put in place pretty significant – and we are not the only ones who do it, our competitors do the same – proper gambling programmes. In our experience, when we open up, we are a much safer environment for somebody who has a propensity for problem gambling than anywhere else and I think Mr Jennens said earlier that there is a more of a risk from High Street bookmakers, etc., than there is from the things we are putting together. What we are creating is an entertainment destination. Gambling is a significant part of it. Of course it is. Either you like gambling or you do not. If you like gambling – if you want to go to the cinema you want to go to the ice rink, you want to take your kids out for a day, and by the way, dad goes off to have a gamble or whatever – that is part of the entertainment package. The point is that if you take gambling out of the heart of this it does not work. All of this is there as a package and the economics – you know, Caesars is a resort casino operator. Less than 50% of our revenues come from gambling but we need the gambling to make our resorts work. If it is not there it does not work. Jennifer Hogg (Evangelical Alliance): I am sure we all agree that gambling and children do not mix and that is a fundamental tenet of the Gambling Bill and Government policy. I am interested to find out how the planners are going to enforce age bars on minors entering because I know this is generally something that casinos can be relied upon to handle very well. I think this is something that slightly worries us – that family entertainment centres are going to have this notion of adult gambling, that the economic core of the thing is gambling when it is actually family entertainment. This is something I think we find is a worrying combination and I would be interested in finding out how you are going to manage age barring and also, non-gaming areas. There was confusion I think in the Parliamentary process over the non-gaming area because it was originally intended as some sort of chill-out zone where people could go and listen to music or videos or whatever to get a break from the non-stop gambling. However, sometimes those non-gaming areas can be an attraction in themselves so one thing we have advocated is some kind of non-return valve so you do not drift from the cinema into the casino but you can get out of the casino into the cinema. I think this is something that we do not necessary need to hear in detail from every developer but I think it is something that planners should be looking at hard. This is where the social responsibility policy hits the ground really. Neil Murphy (Sun International): I agree with you entirely about the segregation of minors from the gaming areas. The chill-out areas are designed for the gaming people in the casino to reflect, I think, on their actions is the way the Government worded that. Let us be quite clear about the other components. Operating ice rinks from a capital expenditure point of view is not a great economic place to be. I think a number of local authorities including Havering realise that fact. Operating them to a very high standard is an expensive occupation, which from a local authority’s point of view, is burdensome. Therefore when we talk about public benefit, replacing an ice rink with a modern one of Olympic standard and with 2,500 seats so everything – from community, the children enjoying themselves, to shows, to professional athletes training and competing on these rinks – adds no burden on the local authority. It can be defined as a public interest. It depends on the local authority. The same can go for nature reserves, entertainment facilities, conferencing facilities and so on and so forth. I think what we need to stress as operators is that we are able, because of the economic generator of the casino, to afford to put these benefits, if you want to call it that, or these components, within our developments so they replace what is currently a burden on the local authority if that is so.
Secondly, they can create a destination in their own right, suitably located away from housing, away from places of worship, away from schools, in locations where people going there to gamble actually know why they are going there because it is a determined visit. The gaming component nonetheless is segregated from minors by walls, entrance security inside the development, so minors do not get access, see through to, etc. I hope that answers some of your concerns. Angie Bray (AM): It is a bit of a general question really but where should new regional casinos be located in London – in town centres or out of town? David McCollum (London Borough of Greenwich): Just to tie it in briefly with some of the talk that was going on before about whether the casino should be isolated or whether it should be integrated, I will not repeat what I said earlier about my own position on this at the moment. I would just want to say that we would in planning terms almost certainly seek a diversity of uses so it would bring people to make a place animated and lively rather than isolated. Therefore, it would seem to us that if there are to be casinos, and others will decide on that, they need to form part of the fabric and grain of our cities and our towns rather than be isolated and hidden away in some way. Therefore I think our comment would be that integration into the town as part of the town would be certainly preferable in planning terms, in transport terms and in all those matters. Dee Doocey (Chair): Inner city rather than outside. Anyone else? Nick Shattock (Quintain Estates and Development): I think – echoing everything David McCollum says – we believe that as part of the overall offer, there is a synergistic impact that has an exponential effect on the regeneration multiplier in terms of the numbers. It brings greater sustainability; it allows it to operate in a wider leisure context; it accords with Government policy; it accords with the London Plan but also you have the support systems of the wider transport infrastructure, the police infrastructure, the social services infrastructure and indeed the job training infrastructure because there is an intensity of process. Hence Fair Cities, the Chancellor and the intensity of approach to the regeneration of Brent and Wembley at the moment. Roger McFarland (London Borough of Havering): I think the basic planning premise is that you follow a sequential approach, which is adopted in national planning policy and also in the London Plan. Therefore you need to look first to town centres if those are appropriate locations; if not, you look towards the edge of town; if not, you look further out. I do not think anyone would advocate that these should be isolated because I do not think you would get the regeneration benefits but I would question whether you could actually put them in town centres and I would question that you could put them in residential areas. There are a couple of reasons for that: one, I think it increases the problem of noise and disturbance, I think it increases the problem of ambient gambling. The second reason is that if you are going to capture the regeneration benefits for local communities in terms of diversifying the economy and generating further investment, you need space to do that. I do not think the sites are available. In Rainham we are talking about 60 acres – that is the initial development incorporating a casino. The others who have spoken are on a similar track. I do not think you can generally fit those into town centres so I think we are looking at edge of centre, urban-type locations where they are well served by public transport but where you are not going to have large numbers of people milling around the gambling environment causing late-night disturbance but also risking increases in problem gambling. My view would be somewhere along that spectrum, from town centre through to out of town. Angie Bray (AM): Thank you. I found that helpful. It partly goes back to what I was worrying about earlier, which is the noise aspect. However, surely some of the answers we have heard slightly fly in the face of what I thought we were getting a little earlier, which was to an extent you were separate – isolated is a perhaps an extreme word – but you were extolling the virtues of
being separate because you were basically telling us that people would not be strolling past your front doors. You were saying that people would have to make a specific journey to go to these places in order to take part in the casino and what have you, and specifically that was also going to mean you would control the space because it was very much your space and not part of the public space. Now you seem to be telling us that actually, you want to be very much part of the fabric of the local community. I think you cannot have it both ways, can you? Jayne McGivern (Anschutz Entertainment Group): If I could perhaps jump in, I actually think you can. In the scheme that we are proposing, we have our entertainment district within the Dome, which is itself a separate entity from the rest of the Peninsula. I promise it will not be isolated when it is finished and it is a couple of yards from the Tube station, which is fantastic. It has been very, very carefully master-planned and just to roll in a point that was made earlier about the local planners’ involvement, the local planners are hugely involved in social issues and it is no accident that it takes a long time to not only achieve a satisfactory planning consent, because it has be satisfactory for absolutely everybody, not just for the developer. Certainly my experience of the London Borough of Greenwich is that they are very included in every aspect of not only how it is built but how that facility is going to operate for the long term. Just to finish off on that point, inside the Dome every single building is acoustically sealed. Angie Bray (AM): I do not think that is quite the point. It is whether you want people passing casually past your door, to be close to the residential area, or do you want people to be making a special journey to be entertained by you in your sort of bubble? Jayne McGivern (Anschutz Entertainment Group): People will make a special journey to the Dome to be entertained, to go out for the evening or the day, or whatever it is, as they will to Wembley to enjoy the facilities that Nick Shattock is proposing. However, it does not mean that has to be a zillion miles away from a community. It is half a kilometre away from a community, so you can have both. There are very few places in London by the way, where you can have both, in my personal view, but it is possible and I think Nick (Shattock) and I are both here, demonstrating that. Angie Bray (AM): I am still not getting a feeling of whether… It goes back to my point really. How close do you want to be to the rest of human life or do you still want to have a sense of being slightly sealed off? Nick Shattock (Quintain Estates and Development): The point about regeneration and mixed use is that it needs to regenerate a community and it needs to be sustainable so people can get there quickly by public transport, and people can get there quickly without having to get in a car and so most people who are going to be working there are going to be in the area. Our joint venture agreements – as I am sure yours is with Greenwich – require us to be working really hard to make as many people who are unemployed in the locale, working in our new facilities. However there is a definite difference between making a specific trip and making a spontaneous decision, and I think that is the point. Therefore, if you make a specific decision to go to an entertainment facility that has gambling or would you make a spontaneous decision because you are walking past it? What we are both saying is that, ‘I am on the way to work, what the hell, I will go and put some money into a slot machine’, is not what either of these schemes is about but they are in the heart of the community and they will be iconic buildings which will be very important to the local populace and will be the major economic regenerator in the area. Angie Bray (AM): A quick last question if I may, and that is that you also talked about wanting to be close to easy access to social services. I wondered what you specifically meant. What did you have in mind when you talked about the need to be close to social services?
Nick Shattock (Quintain Estates and Development): I think the point is we are in an existing community and I include social services as being job and health. I was not anticipating talking about problem-gambling support because we are providing that as well. There are charities in any event and we are highly experienced at dealing with those issues. Sir Bob Scott (Chairman, Greenwich Peninsula Partnership): Very simply, just to say this business of separation and integration – just maybe to help you if you are finding it difficult to conceive of the two being compatible, is to think of football grounds. The old-fashioned football ground that was literally in the middle of the back-to-backs is now unacceptable but it does need to be within its community. Therefore, it needs to be both separated and integrated. Angie Bray (AM): You have put your finger on precisely that problem and the debate goes on in those communities. Sir Bob Scott (Chairman, Greenwich Peninsula Partnership): We would certainly recommend that it should not be in the middle of the back-to-backs. Jennifer Hogg (Evangelical Alliance): Just about this question of what the planning regime can cope with, all I can say is our experience is that planning officers will be very clear that they must consider things like land use, infrastructure, spatial strategy, the sequential test and all that but when you try to talk about the location of ambient gambling or destination gambling, they do not go there. This has been our experience and I am passionate about it because we find the local communities fall down the gaps between planning and licensing. This is what I am banging on about. Please, please, do not let that happen because you have a marvellous planning proposal, please do not let the social impact fall out because there will be a social impact somewhere. Neil Murphy (Sun International): Our experience concurs with you. I do agree that the planning and the licensing process should be intermingled. Dee Doocey (Chair): I would like to bring in the audience now. We have three questions. Mark London first, who is a reporter on the Islington Tribune. Mark London (Islington Tribune): I have two questions: one for the Committee and the other one for the operators. We have talked about three casino developments. I am most interested in the proposed Arsenal development. I wondered if the Committee have had any information from Islington Council or from the Football Club? Dee Doocey (Chair): Could I answer that before you go on to your second question. The answer is that no, we have not had any information yet but we are very happy to receive information. Therefore that is quite straightforward. Your second question. Mark London (Islington Tribune): I was wondering if any of the operators are involved in bidding for the Arsenal contract? Operators: No. Dee Doocey (Chair): The next person is Leanne Hartley, from Thames Gateway London Partnership. Liane Hartley (Thames Gateway London Partnership): I was seeking clarification on the actual step-by-step decision-making process, by which you do actually select a proposal and by the same token, who is responsible for writing the Supplementary Planning Guidance (SPG)?
Richard Linton (Senior Scrutiny Manager, GLA): Those are questions you really need to ask the Mayor rather than the Assembly. We as an Assembly Committee look at what the Mayor does and the Mayor is responsible for strategic planning in London so possibly Andrew (BarryPurssell), who is the Mayor’s representative over there, may be able to answer your question. Andrew Barry-Purssell (Mayor’s Office): I was thinking of how to do this within the Chair’s injunction to remain brief because since the Government announced its change of policy in December, it is now fiendishly complicated. The position now is that for an initial period, as yet unspecified, the Government is going to be conducting a pilot study in which eight of the largest regional casinos, eight of the class below that which are called ‘large’ and eight of the class below that which are called ‘small’, so that is 24 casinos in all, will be licensed to run so the impact on local communities – the sort of regeneration impact we talked about and the sort of impact on problem gambling that we have talked about – can be assessed. After that initial period the Government will then consider whether or not to allow more of these larger casinos. The way the process will work is that the Government will next year, or during the course of this year, will be setting up an advisory panel which will recommend to the Government where those 24 casinos should go. That advisory panel will start its work in the early part of next year. The first stage of the process of identifying sites will be that the Mayor, like all the other regional planning bodies in England, Scotland and Wales, will be asked to give advice about which broad locations – and by broad locations, the Government means which borough – might be suitable. The advisory panel set up by Ministers will recommend to Ministers which broad locations should be allowed to have casinos operating in them. What will then happen is that the action will then switch to the local authorities. Where a local borough – and let us take Brent for the sake of argument – is identified as one of those broad locations, it will then be up to Brent to invite operators to put forward proposals and then to decide which of those proposals to take up. Brent will then be responsible for dealing with the planning application and dealing with the application that will come in for site licensing. The Mayor may then get involved again because if the application that comes in to Brent from the operator that has been chosen falls into the list of types of application that are referable to the Mayor to consider, they will be referred here and the Mayor will have to consider whether or not he wants to direct refusal. The Mayor really has two ins at this point: right at the beginning of the process in providing advice to the advisory panel and then possibly later on down the track when detailed planning applications come in. The rest of the approval process will be dealt with by the local authorities. That is Government policy as of the last time I heard it. The Bill is going through the House of Lords. I have been dealing with casino policy for about nine months now and I think this is probably at least the fourth or fifth change in Government policy over that time, so if that proves not to be the case, please do not shoot me. Dee Doocey (Chair): Thank you very much. The third person who wanted to ask a question is Peter Everstone from the London Forum. Peter Eversden (London Forum): Thank you, Chair. There are three points I would like the Committee to take into consideration. The London Forum represents over 100,000 Londoners of community groups and it is the London region of the Civic Trust. The Civic Trust had to form a project called Open All Hours when 24-hour licensing came in, to cover all the things the Government had not taken into consideration on health, police, social services, etc. That project is still having to continue and I would urge the Committee to look at the aspects of that which are applicable in these situations.
The second point is about use classes. I think the Committee needs to check absolutely that we are going to be able to prevent any entertainment centre from becoming a small casino. We thought we had tied this down completely for A1 and A3 so a shop could not become a restaurant, but Starbucks, Caffe Uno and Caffe Nero completely blew that through appeal decisions which they forced, that those two are the same. Therefore we need to make things watertight. The last thing is about traffic. We are used to seeing casinos all over the world, straddling or alongside eight-lane highways. The preferred mode of travel to them by groups would be a car. The Mayor’s night buses would not be the preferred access method, so we are rather concerned as to the sheer volume of traffic movement which would be introduced; how that would be managed and that it would be adequately addressed in environmental impact assessments. Thank you. Dee Doocey (Chair): Thank you very much. Just to briefly respond, on the Open All Hours, certainly we will take account of that in our deliberations. On the use classes, it was my understanding that you could not turn a bingo hall into a small casino. Andrew Barry-Purssell (Mayor’s Office): You can at the moment. Dee Doocey (Chair): No, under the new legislation but I think we are all very aware of the problems that could create. On the traffic one, I wondered if anyone wanted to comment, particularly somebody from planning in the boroughs? David McCollum (London Borough of Greenwich): Traffic has been, remains and will continue to be a major consideration and will be a major consideration in this but I have to say the traffic controls, the parking controls in new developments such as the Greenwich Peninsula are very stringent with heavy reliance on public transport and the sort of casino one has seen in films which is out of town, and people go off to it and it is surrounded by cars, would be quite unacceptable. Consideration will be included in environmental impact assessments. Anthony Jennens (Gamcare): You can correct me, but I got a note this morning saying as of the present moment, the Use Classes Order Change is not included in the Bill in view of the fact that they have limited casinos to [inaudible]. Gareth Wallace (Evangelical Alliance): That is our specific area in lobbying on the Bill. The Government gave an assurance in the House of Lords second reading that they would bring in a separate use class but that is an ODPM matter. There is a problem between the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and the ODPM over who is actually picking up the ball on that one. Dee Doocey (Chair): I thought I had read it in the House of Lords thing that was on the 22 nd. I take the point. Gareth Wallace (Evangelical Alliance): It is not in existence but the promise is there. Anthony Jennens (Gamcare): It would be done by regulation rather than on the face of primary legislation. Dee Doocey (Chair): Okay, fine. Bob Blackman (AM): Can I just take up this issue of transport. I think this is rather important. The evidence suggests that most of the people going to casino-type operation are going to be doing so between midnight and 6am, at which point what do you expect to be the typical type of attendance?
Dee Doocey (Chair): The key hours. Bob Blackman (AM): The key hours because one of the issues is that public transport does not operate after 12.30am. Tobin Prior (Kerzner International): I am not sure what evidence you are referring to but typically the casino elements of these attractions, which are multi-faceted, peak between 9pm and 1am or 12 am, not from 12am to 6am. The other attractions generally run throughout the period of the day. They are typically counter-cyclical and the bulk of the traffic is during the operation of public-transport hours. All that is taken into account at the transport stage. Peter Hulme Cross (AM): I wanted to ask Andrew Barry-Purssell and throw it open to others – the Mayor has stated publicly that he favours two particular sites, namely the Dome and Wembley. Has he not rather shot his bolt in mentioning those two sites as his preferred locations? Andrew Barry-Purssell (Mayor’s Office): In what way, sorry? Peter Hulme Cross (AM): Well, he has said that he would like to see the casinos a) in the Dome and b) in Wembley. That is just two locations. He has already made a decision, has he not? Andrew Barry-Purssell (Mayor’s Office): I think you would do well to look at this in the context of what is happening. I just described the process that is going to be gone through. At this stage, what we are talking about is the advice that will be given to the advisory panel that will be looking at broad locations that might be suitable for the regional casino and the Mayor has expressed his view about what those two locations might be. That is based on both the details of the proposals that we have had shown us an the policies in the London Plan which identified both those locations as sitting in Opportunity Areas, where the London Plan quite explicitly says they are suitable for leisure-based regeneration. I do not understand why you think the Mayor has shot his bolt. Peter Hulme Cross (AM): I am sorry, you do not? Andrew Barry-Purssell (Mayor’s Office): I do not really understand the premise of the question. Peter Hulme Cross (AM): Well, all right we can move on. The Mayor has simply stated his preferences, which are going to influence people who are deliberating on these things. I mean, it is quite clear what the Mayor’s preference is, so has that not already decided the issue to some extent? Andrew Barry-Purssell (Mayor’s Office): Well, we are talking about the Mayor who will be making representations to a Committee that has not yet been set up. I said earlier on that there were two points at which the Mayor will get involved in this process. On is at the stage of giving advice to the advisory panel, based on the work that has been done for the London Plan and London is unique amongst the regions because we actually have our Regional Spatial Strategy, which the regions do not as yet. Then, further on down the track if and when planning applications come in, the Mayor will have a role in that. I think at this point that all that the Mayor has done is state what his view is on the first of those two stages. Peter Hulme Cross (AM): All right, let me put this another way. 18 months ago, casinos were not on the map so would the regeneration plans have survived without these casinos? Andrew Barry-Purssell (Mayor’s Office): That is not entirely true. The deregulation of casinos is something that has been talked about I would guess for a good three or four years. It started
with the Budd Report and has gone through a fairly lengthy process of a draft Bill and consideration by a Joint Committee of Parliament. We started looking at it because we thought it might be a significant issue I would guess about a year ago. The point about whether or not – and by regeneration I take it you mean the jobs totals mentioned in the London Plan – whether or not they would have happened with the casinos, yes they very probably would. The point was made earlier on about the concept that economists have of displacement. If the money is not spent in the casino it will be spent somewhere else and if jobs are not created in the casinos, they will be created on whatever it is that other things that people spend it on. I suspect that much of the displacement effect there might be will be within the leisure sector. The leisure sector is a very fast-growing part of the London economy. If you look over the last business cycle, during the last economic downturn, unlike many sectors of the London economy, it actually put jobs on while in other sectors they were being lost. If it was not casinos, it would probably be something else that was in the leisure sector. Peter Hulme Cross (AM): Our friends here have said this is a package and the casino is part of it. The casino is a catalyst on which a lot of other things hang. They have also said if a casino is not there, we will have an Arena but it will struggle to make a profit. It will struggle to be viable. Therefore, it seems to me that a casino is an integral part of the regeneration that is planned and if it is not there, the regeneration will probably not happen. Andrew Barry-Purssell (Mayor’s Office): You are talking about two different things. The job totals that are in the London Plan are London-wide projections about what we think will be the jobs growth in the years up to 2016. What it does not do is go down to borough level or ward level and work out exactly how those jobs would be allocated. Dee Doocey (Chair): Sorry, could we keep to casinos rather than the London Plan? Andrew Barry-Purssell (Mayor’s Office): The problem I have in answering that detailed question is that relates to individual proposals and you are asking me detailed questions about what will happen in terms of local effects. The London Plan is a strategic one that looks at London as a whole. It may very well be true and I think that in the cases we have heard about this morning, the casino is an important part of supporting an overall project. I think, in terms of regeneration, at a strategic level, that is one of the important things we hav e to take into account. Sally Hamwee (AM): I am just trying to be a bit clearer about the Mayor’s position. In November, Bob Blackman asked a question about casinos. I will take the answer because Andrew might want to put a gloss on it. The Mayor said, ‘I recognised in London we had two or three major redevelopment schemes, particularly the Dome and Wembley, where developers have put a strong case.’ He then goes on to say, ‘I think certainly in London we should look at these sites and then subsequently see whether there are going to be more… I do not think a Dome development would be viable without the casino and therefore the position I am putting and lobbying with is no more than these two to begin with.’ Ought we to understand any gloss on that, given the technical situation and the sequential arrangements you have described? I am sorry, that is not very fair of me. Andrew Barry-Purssell (, Mayor’s Office): I think it is perfectly clear and I do not think… I do not see how I could actually put a gloss on it. Roger McFarland ( London Borough of Havering): I think it is fairly clear, as a statement of where he was at that point in time. The way we see it, as one of the locations which is keen to have a casino, bluntly, and which was not one of the two mentioned in that instance, is that the Mayor has said those are suitable locations. He has not said they are the only suitable locations. He has just said they are the ones he is enthusiastic about, which he is lobbying for at the present time. There are clearly other opportunity areas in the London Plan where leisure-based
regeneration would be appropriate and there is time before the panel is convened for the Mayor to consider, as I am sure he will, some or all of the other eight proposals and see whether those match up to the ones he is currently pursuing. That is what we would invite the Mayor to do; that is what we would like the Committee to recommend him to do. Dee Doocey (Chair): Thank you very much. I think we have come to the end of our formal questions. Can I just ask if any of the groups or all of the groups want to make some brief final comments before we finish? Anthony Jennens (Gamcare): On the last point, we are talking about what the Mayor decides but I am given to understand it is not be the Mayor who will be saying but an entirely independent advisory panel. Dee Doocey (Chair): The Mayor will merely make recommendations to that panel. Anthony Jennens (Gamcare): He will give, presumably, a wider choice than two. Dee Doocey (Chair): I am sure, yes. Well, he may or he may not. Tobin Prior (Kerzner International): Thank you very much for giving us this opportunity. Secondly, if it would help to give people an appreciation of these broader integrated leisure concepts we would be happy to be part of a fact-finding mission and to assist in showing people how these things actually are executed and the real benefits of them. Jayne McGivern (Anschutz Entertainment Group): I would just like to echo Tobin. Thank you very much for the opportunity to come and speak to you. Gareth Wallace (Parliamentary Officer, Evangelical Alliance): Sorry, just a brief question. Thank you very much for giving us this opportunity. I do not want to be cheeky to the panel but I have a quote from The Times from October 2004. I will not go into the detail of it, although I have it here. It basically talks about Caesars applying for a casino in Manchester and offering potential 106 kickbacks or kickbacks of some description, to the tune of £1 million a year. It also understood to have promised £3 million up front for local businesses. Unfortunately, Caesars’s application for this was rejected and the preferred bidder as of October 2004 was Kerzner. I am a little confused by that. I do not think we have ever stated that we think there is a particular link between crime and casino development. I think this is very much the top end and that was the reason why the Government decided to go for large casinos. From our point of view we are just concerned – we are not making an allegations – but we are just concerned about Section 106 agreements and just for the public to hear that with a very small budget, I believe we represent public opinion and you with a very large budget represent commercial interests. I just want to make sure that the playing field is fair. Nick Shattock (Quintain Estates and Development): It is quite a simple thing. The City of Manchester held a competition for a casino development at the City of Manchester Stadium and a number of operators and developers submitted bids for it and they were asked to indicate what level of regeneration cash they would be putting back into the community. A reference by a journalist in The Times to kickbacks is somewhat missing the point because as you say, the local authority would be benefiting to the tune of £1 million a year or the £3 million a year when they own the site and are not asking you to buy it. That is the point. It is leasehold, it is rent, it is whatever the local authority wanted to pay for it. It is money into the community schemes.
Dee Doocey (Chair): I think that is fine. Thank you very much. Can I thank all the witnesses for coming and for giving up their time and for being so forthcoming in answering all our questions. Thank you very much indeed.