Harrah’s eyeing UK’s first “supercasino”-source

Source: http://www.reuters.com/article/bondsNews/idUSL1691077320070216

LONDON, Feb 16 (Reuters) – The world’s biggest casino operator Harrah’s Entertainment would like to run Britain’s first Las Vegas-style casino in Manchester, but is wary of the “winner’s curse”, a company source said on Friday.

Last month, Manchester was the surprise winner of a competition to host the “supercasino”, which although small by Las Vegas standards, is likely to be huge in UK terms, with 5,000 square metres of gaming space, 1,250 slot machines and 2,700 workers.

The winner is also expected to help with local regeneration projects.

“Harrah’s would like to run the regional casino, but it has to make economic sense,” said the source.

“Let’s not get carried away with plans for new convention centres, motorways and airport terminals — or the winner could end up with a winner’s curse.

“The business plan has to work, but Manchester Council is very business savvy and will hopefully know how to weigh this up.”

Harrah’s rival Las Vegas Sands says it would also like to build a $760 million casino resort in Manchester, while industry sources say Bahamas-based operator Kerzner International hopes to invest $500 million there.

But the Harrah’s source said it was too early to come up with sensible numbers.

Last December, Harrah’s completed its $530 million acquisition of London Clubs International, gaining a foothold in Europe which it aims to expand.

“Caesars in Spain should open in 2009, and Harrah’s is looking to expand elsewhere in Europe — that was the reason for buying London Clubs,” said the source.

Apart from the regional “supercasino”, Britain also plans sixteen smaller casinos — eight with 150 slot machines each and eight with 80 each. “We’ll look at those and most likely bid for all of them, but only once we know more about the process,” said the source. “Bath, with its Regency background, looks interesting and the kind of venue we’re good at.”

“We’re in all spectrums of the market, from Fifty at the top end to mid-tier casinos like Leicester Square, which will open at the end of April or in the first week of May.”

Other likely bidders as Britain opens its casino industry are Malaysia’s Genting, Britain’s Rank and Ladbrokes .

From Casino-Bingo.co.uk / Casino Britain / Poker Britain / Blackjack Britain /

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