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When is a small casino not a small casino? When it’s bigger than a normal casino of course!

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When is a small casino not a small casino? When it’s bigger than a normal casino of course!

Just over 4 years ago Peter Adkins, head of the Regulatory team at Emms Gilmore Liberson Solicitors of Birmingham, commenced work on an application for a new ‘Small Casino’ Premises Licence for Casino 36 in Wolverhampton. 12th November sees the culmination of that project, with the opening of the new Casino 36 on Temple Street in the centre of Wolverhampton after a £7.6m refurbishment.

The Small Casino Premises Licence is one of only 8 permitted to be issued throughout the country under the provisions of the Gambling Act 2005. A further 8 ‘Large Casino’ licences can be issued. Other than these 16 licences no new casino licences can be issued in the country, making these licences highly sought after.

A Small Casino? The phrase is almost a contradiction in terms. It is far larger than most existing casinos, as to fall within the category defined by the Act it has to have a minimum table gaming area of 500 sq m and a minimum non-gambling area of 250 sq m. That’s 5400 sq ft and 2700 sq ft in old measurements. A ‘Large Casino’ has a minimum of double that area.

The restrictions on the issue of new licences led to strong competition for the licence. The process has been a long one, Wolverhampton Council sought initial permission from Government to issue a licence as part of its city regeneration scheme. Once permission was granted, the process involved two competing applicants going through a contested two stage application. Later there were accompanying Operating Licence and Licensing Act applications. Many hearings and meetings later, the formal handover of the Premises Licence took place on 9th November.

Peter Adkins commented ‘I was delighted to have been asked by Casino 36 to advise them and to handle the multiple applications needed for this project, it has been very satisfying to see the project through to conclusion. The complications of handling one of the very few new Casino licence applications made the job very interesting. Being able to handle the accompanying changes to Operating Licences and Licensing Act applications under one roof was a great advantage. The Licensing team at Wolverhampton were very supportive throughout.’

This has been a long running matter. Councillor John Reynolds, Cabinet Member for City Economy, said: “This project brings a significant number of jobs to Wolverhampton. It will kick start regeneration on Southside and will prove a real asset to this area of city.”

Apart from benefitting the area with increased employment and  redevelopment, as part of the process for the grant of the licence there was a pledge by Casino 36 Limited to contribute £36,000 towards counselling programmes for problem gamblers and their families, and community initiatives.

The size of the premises will lead to over 100 new jobs being created and a boost for the local economy.

Peter Adkins

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