Leeds City Council Approves Outdoor Gaming at Grosvenor Casino
The Leeds City Council approved outdoor gaming for Grosvenor Casino. Paddy Whur, a spokesperson for Grosvenor, said the casino plans to install gaming machines in the outdoor smoking area. Councillors visited the casino to familiarize themselves with the layout, which helped them decide on the plan.
Despite the approval, the application for outdoor gaming machines was controversial. Councillor Karen Bruce opposed the plan, because she felt it a risk for problem gamblers.
Bruce said the smoking area is a traditional refuge for gamblers who want a “cooling off” period. By placing gaming machines in that spot, the casino tempts compulsive gamblers.
Despite Karen Bruce’s noted concerns, the Leeds City Council approved the measure, which most councillors saw as a minor change.
Paddy Whur on Outdoor Gaming
Paddy Whur, who attended the City Council meeting, said Grosvenor Casino addressed concerns by leaving a licensed and unlicensed section in the gaming area. Thus, smokers who don’t want the temptation have a location they can smoke without seeing the gaming machines.
Whur noted that other UK casinos called for much more radical changes. Some place many slot machines in the smoking areas, thus making it impossible to ignore the gaming which takes place.
Non-Licensed Area Retained
By contrast, Grosvenor’s EGMs in the smoking area are minor. Whur said, “In other cases, the application was to license the whole of the smoking area, rather than part of it.”
“We want to retain a non-licensed area too, so that people can have a cigarette if they want to and not be in the gambling area. None of the responsible authorities have had concerns with the application we have made.”
Given Councillor Karen Bruce’s reserve on the issue, Paddy Whur’s statement might not be accurate. Still, enough authorities approved the measure that it passed the Leeds City Council.
Grosvenor Casino: 4 Outdoor Gaming Machines
Councillor Neil Buckley said the smoking area contains no partition to separate smokers from gamblers, but he sees no great danger to bettors. Part of the reason for his vote is the small number of gaming machines.
Buckley added, “There would be no partition to separate the licensed and unlicensed area of the smoking area. [Grovenor Casino] does not anticipate introducing any more than four machines to the area. This will start with two and could rise to four if there is demand.”
Gaming machines remain a controversial issue in the United Kingdom. On April 1st, the UK Gambling Commission changed the max bets on fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs) from £100 to £2.
Kindred Group Closes Maria Casino
As land-based casino gambling expands a bit in Leeds, Kindred Group is closing one of its signature online casinos: Maria Casino. In its announcement, Kindred Group said it is shifting its focus to Unibet and 32Red Casino, two other online casino properties.
Kindred Group announced it is close Maria Casino to UK online players on May 7. Kindred urged customers to withdraw funds before May 7, or certainly before May 14 (when log-ins end).
The announcement stated, “Maria Casino will close on the UK market on 7th of May. We recommend Maria Casino customers to withdraw their balance before the 7th May. The customer will be able to log in into their Maria account to withdraw their money until the 14th May. But after the 7th May they won’t be allowed to play, deposit, etc. only the withdrawal option will be available. Kindred Group has decided to focus fully on our two strong brands in the UK market – Unibet and 32Red.”
Even though players can withdraw from their account until May 14, bonus funds must be used by May 7. Kindred Group’s memo stated, “If your bonus funds aren’t used by the 7th May, they will be forfeited.”