Ladbrokes in possible casino venture

Gambling giant Ladbrokes is believed to be in discussions with the U.K’s biggest racecourse operator, Arena Leisure, about a possible joint venture with the view to operating a casino at Wolverhampton racecourse.

The move would add a new arm to Arena Leisure’s portfolio, who own racecourses in Windsor, Berkshire and Surrey. The joint venture is seeking to gain one of the small casino licences the government will award next year, with many dubbing the project a ‘racino’.

Other casino operators are also said to be interested in a possible deal, though Ladbrokes are thought to be the firm favourites with Arena. The casino would run on a profit-sharing basis, with Ladbrokes controlling its operation.

A potential deal would be beneficial to all parties, as both have other aims. Arena wants to expand their business from being just a racecourse owner, whilst Ladbrokes have been very active in seeking partnerships with other leisure firms, such as Legoland and Hilton, as they look to gain favour with the government on the awarding of a supercasino licence.

Arena chief executive, Mark Elliot, foresees sales increasing from £5 million to £20 million in the next three years and recently announced a deal with a U.S television network to screen live horseraces into 20 million American homes, as part of its At The Races venture with BSkyB.

Editor, - 2006-12-11 11:51:31

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