Senior representatives of the international gaming industry are gathering in London today for the first time since the British government published its Draft Gambling Bill in November 2003 at ICE – the International Casino Exhibition held between January 27th and 29th at Earls Court & Olympia, west London. The Bill sets out the government’s intention to deregulate the gaming sector with proposals that are sure to change the industry beyond all recognition.
London First Centre, the inward investment agency for London, is co-hosting with business organisation London First an ‘Opportunities in Gaming Forum’ on Monday January 26th from 2pm – 6pm at Earls Court. The forum is designed to raise issues and discuss the opportunities created within London for casino development by deregulation of the gaming industry in the UK.
‘Opportunities in Gaming’ will provide a platform to debate key issues associated with the proposed deregulation, including the economic and social impact of gaming and the skills needed for a successful industry. Participants in the event are senior executives from leading global gaming corporations, including MGM Mirage, Caesars Entertainment, Ameristar Casinos, Isle of Capri Casinos, Penn National Gaming and Harrah’s Entertainment, as well as trade associations and representatives of London local government, the Metropolitan Police and the wider London business community.
Michael Charlton, Chief Executive of London First Centre, said: “Key to the London offer will be Togel gaming-led entertainment centres, similar to the resort-style venues in Las Vegas. These centres will open up gaming to a much larger consumer market and attract people who have previously not been interested in gaming, but who enjoy fun and excitement. Having waited a long time for reform, London’s gaming industry is now looking forward to a period of considerable growth. The anticipated changes will open up the sector to global competition and enable it to adapt more rapidly to future customer demands. The proposals represent a great boost to the economy and can only serve to strengthen London’s reputation as a leading global destination.”
The recent judi slot announcement that MGM Mirage and Earls Court & Olympia Group have entered into a joint venture development agreement to plan a spectacular new gaming and entertainment complex in the Olympia Exhibition Centre is a clear sign of a shifting marketplace. Coupled with this, the UK is also set to become one of the only mature gaming environments to adopt achievable and sensible regulation for online gaming with new legislation permitting operators to set up online gambling services in London.
Hospitality and leisure is one of London’s most important and vibrant sectors, generating revenues of over £9bn in 2002. London’s gaming industry is currently a key contributor to this success with around 60% of all UK casino employment in the capital. London’s gambling scene is extremely diverse with a long tradition centred on horse racing and high-end casinos, protected by regulation which ensures that gaming in London is a well-run industry. It is widely felt that British gambling law has not kept up with social change and developments in technology. The Draft Gambling Bill proposes new legislation designed to simplify the regulation of gaming and extend choice for adult gamblers. These changes will create a completely new marketplace.