Packer and Aspinall to Lead UK Casino Revolution?
The Sunday Times recently reported how ‘gossip column heart-throb’ Damien Aspinall is a leading contender to build the very first UK Super Casino. As reported previously on Jackpot.co.uk culture secretary Tessa Jowell is allowing just one super casino to be build during an initial phase of The Gambling Bill’s planned UK casino expansion. Not surprisingly competition to win the licence to build the UK’s first super casino is fierce.
Damien Aspinall was destined to be in the spotlight from an early age. He is the son of the famous casino, club owner and conservationalist John Aspinall whose name will go down in history as the founder of the UK’s very first large scale casino. As well as being part of the international jet set John Aspinall also devoted much time and money into establishing two private zoos at two of his stately homes.
John passed away six years ago and since then his son, Damien who lives with actress and presenter Donna Air and their daughter has taken over his father’s casino empire. It is now widely rumoured that Damien is set to follow in his late father’s footsteps by becoming the founder and builder of the UK’s very first super casino.
Aspinall has joined forces with James Packer, son of the late Kerry Packer, Australian casino tycoon. Together they are a force to challenge the American giants who are seeking to build huge casinos across the UK.
“I think we are the viable British alternative to Las Vegas glitz.” Says Aspinall. “Where the decision makers want an outward-looking entertainment complex with shops, boulevards and bars, not everything going on inside a box, we are the ones.”
Both Cardiff and Middlesbrough have selected Aspinall/Packer to lead their bid for a super casino licence. Although the government is currently committed to allowing just one supercasino many commentators expect them to back track and allow as many as eight after an initial period. Should this happen then Aspinall/Packer could find themselves in a strong position to lead the way in the British casino revolution.
In addition to their ambitious plans for super-casino domination the duo are launching a string of smaller casinos across the country named Aspers, John Aspinalls nickname. The first Asper club was opened in Newcastle four months ago and Damien claims that it is the most successful British casino launch ever averaging 1,000 people a night with over 25,0000 memberships already sold. Although this claim is dismissed by other industry bosses there is no denying Aspinalls ambition and it will be interesting to see weather that ambition is realised over the coming months and years.
Many in the in the industry dismiss Aspinal as a mere play boy who inherited all of his wealth. However this is untrue, upon his father’s death 90-95% of his estate was put into a charitable foundation for the running of his zoos. Damien left school at 16 and made his own money in the property boom in the 1980’s. He then had to buy back his late fathers casino interests with Packers help. He is now determined to prove his critics wrong; he feels casinos are in his genes. Only time will tell whether the Aspinall/Packer dream will be realised and the sons will be as successful as their late fathers. Will there be an Aspers in every town joined by larger regional super casinos bearing their name? Watch this space.
Editor, Jackpot.co.uk - 2006-08-29 13:03:27