Solihull’s 15-year journey: Advancing casino development following Gambling Act milestone - The Solihull Observer

Solihull’s 15-year journey: Advancing casino development following Gambling Act milestone

Correspondent 19th Dec, 2023   0

This year marks the 15th year since Solihull had made a step closer to securing a new-generation casino. In May 2008, almost one and a half decades ago, the Gambling Act 2005 was successfully passed by the House of Lords.

The Gambling Act 2005 governs the provision of gambling facilities and premises used for gambling. It establishes three licensing objectives, which are to prevent gambling as a source of crime and disorder, ensure fair and open gambling conduct and safeguard children and vulnerable individuals from harm.

This regulatory framework underscores the scrutiny and oversight applied to licensing and conducting gambling activities in the region. After its approval, the Government selected eight locations, including Solihull, for large gaming centres featuring 150 slot machines with a maximum jackpot of £4,000.

The National Exhibition Centre (NEC) was the favoured site for a £100 million casino at the time. However, a chief executive from one of Britain’s major leisure firms, Rank Group, had urged Solihull Council to explore alternative locations.

Despite not making the NEC shortlist, Rank Group actively sought a suitable 1,500 sq m casino site, complying with the Gambling Act 2005. Solihull Borough Council conducted a competition to determine the best location and operator.

At the time, Deborah Smith, NEC’s head of communications, mentioned a soon-to-be-announced preferred partner for the project. Smith highlighted the NEC site’s strong potential, aiming to demonstrate its benefits for Solihull, Birmingham, and the wider West Midlands.

Furthermore, incorporating a large casino into an entertainment complex, according to Smith, would act as a catalyst for global-scale investment. The complex was expected to draw more visitors, boosting spending and creating over 1,000 jobs.

However, Ian Burke, Rank Group’s CEO, expressed anticipation about the council’s open competition plans. He mentioned ongoing discussions with Solihull communities on gambling-related social issues, emphasising Rank’s awareness of its social responsibilities as Britain’s leading casino operator.

The rise of metaverse

5 years have passed since the step made towards casino development in the borough of Solihull. Currently, Solihull has Genting Casino Birmingham, which is situated close to Solihull but outside the borough. This casino provides diverse gambling options, including slot machines, table games and a poker room.

Evidently, casino development took years to realise, as the Genting Casino Birmingham was only opened on October 21, 2015. This is six years after Solihull had been chosen as one of the eight locations for large gaming centres. Even then, the casino itself is not a part of Solihull.

Solihull is still progressing toward a new-generation casino and discussions are underway about social issues related to gambling. Even though the borough has yet to have its own casino, with the rising surge of internet and online casinos, Solihull residents will still have some options.

As of 2023, adult participation in the UK gambling industry has surged by 43 percent year-on-year, driven by increased engagement in online slots and remote casinos. The metaverse market, especially, is a component of the broader metaverse industry.

Valued at $234.04 billion in 2022, the metaverse industry is projected to reach $416.02 billion in 2023. The gaming metaverse sector is anticipated to experience a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 38.2%, culminating in a market value of $710.21 billion by 2027.

The metaverse market further introduces a new and unique gambling platform like the metaverse casino, whose popularity is nearly matching physical casinos.

A metaverse casino is a virtual platform within the digital universe, accessible through technologies like 3D goggles, VR headsets and blockchain. The metaverse casino offers diverse casino games in a completely virtual environment.

Because of its novelty, the Gambling Act 2005 does not explicitly affect the metaverse casino. Nevertheless, with the rising count of online casinos and virtual gaming platforms, regulators will probably address the existing regulatory gaps and uncertainties surrounding these platforms in due course.

This is a submitted article. 


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