London casino reopens as punters rejoice

By Ethan Anderson Updated
tablet with casino code coming out of the screen

London’s Hippodrome Casino has reopened and looks a little different since the last time the cards were dealt and the dice were rolled.

The Times reports the head of the Hippodrome Casino looked around the busy but perspex-partitioned tables on the weekend as luck smiled on some gamblers and his establishment.

“People who make sounds like that are people who are having fun. It is a sign people are enjoying themselves,” Simon Thomas said.

“We are delighted to be able to reopen. It is a big relief. We also have a lot of customers who are looking forward to coming back,” Mr Thomas, the co-founder of the Leicester Square casino said.

The casino reopened on Saturday with the latest easing of coronavirus restrictions.

Genting UK outraged by continued casino closure

Genting UK voiced its frustration at the UK government’s decision to keep casinos across England closed for a further two weeks, in early August.

European Gaming reported that Genting UK, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Genting Malaysia, described the move as a “whack-a-mole approach” in policymakers’ lockdown strategy to curb the spread of COVID-19.

Genting UK’s director of corporate assurance and regulatory affairs Jon Duffy was quoted as saying last Friday that the announcement flew in the face of government strategy pertaining to local lockdowns.

“After weeks of meticulous planning, we find it incredible that we have been given less than 24 hours’ notice as to this change of plan, which in itself has caused huge damage to the business,” Mr Duffy said.

“Significant numbers of staff have been brought back from furlough to prepare for the reopening, and this is devastating news for our entire team who now faces further worry and uncertainty.

“For every week we remain closed, it is costing us more than 1.5 million pounds. This is clearly not sustainable, with more jobs and livelihoods being put at risk with every last-minute change and delay.”

It has been reported that Genting UK claimed the UK government’s decision to delay all casinos in England from reopening “defied logic” and “seriously threatens the future of the entire industry.”

“We recognise that incredibly difficult decisions have to be made by all those in government, but we are absolutely confident our venues are as safe, if not more so, than a range of other businesses now currently operating,” Genting UK said.

New Kansas City casino hopes to reshape precinct

The Isle of Capri hopes to make its riverfront establishment even more vibrant under new ownership, the Kansas City Business Journal reported in July.

Rhode-Island based Twin River Worldwide Holdings plans to rebuild the casino off East Front Street as Casino KC and invest $61 million into new aesthetics and features, officials shared on Monday during a Port Authority of Kansas City development committee meeting.

Twin River Worldwide Holdings hopes to “substantially reposition the casino with a transformational redevelopment plan”, with most related capital expenditures expected in 2021, the casino owner and manager announced in a recent release.

The endeavour includes reskinning the existing structure and building a new restaurant, experiential retail, a spa and an amphitheatre, Port KC documents show.

Twin River Worldwide Holdings also could consider an on-site hotel.

A site schematic shows a revamped casino lobby area, with new restaurant, bars and retail adjacent to either side, and the amphitheatre at the property’s southwest corner.

Port KC’s vice president of real estate Joe Perry described the renovations as “synergistic” with the developing Berkley Riverfront area.

“That’s exciting for all of us. We know that when the casino does better, the city and Port KC do better,” he said on Monday.

In 2018, the Kansas City Streetcar Authority noted a “potential opportunity” to extend the planned northern route a mile to the east, connecting the casino to Berkley Riverfront Park.

The Isle of Capri consists of about 40,000 square feet of casino space, with 939 gaming machines, 13 table games and two dining venues.

Figures from the Missouri Gaming Commission show that in June, the Isle of Capri had 77,100 visitors and total adjust gross revenue of $4.3 million – both the smallest among the four casinos on the Missouri side of the metro area.

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