Caesars to build $600m mega-casino in U.K.

Looking to tap into the lucrative British gambling market, the U.S.-based Caesars Entertainment announced plans to build a $600 million Las Vegas-style hotel-casino near a famous sports venue in London, news.yahoo.com reported.
The resort will consist of 400 rooms and be built on 13 acres next to the redeveloped Wembley National Stadium and Wembley Arena. The property will be named Caesars Wembley.

Caesars Wembley will have a spa and swimming pool, a collection of designer shops, convention and meeting facilities, along with restaurants, bars and lounges. The casino will boast 75,000 square feet of gambling space, with 135 gambling tables and 1,250 slot machines.
Caesars announced late Monday it teamed up the U.K. property investment company Quintain Estates and Development which will own 50 percent of the planned casino joint venture.

The plan to bring a casino to Wembley is subject to the scheduled deregulation of gambling laws in Britain, that if approved would loosen restrictions, such as allowing more casinos and slot machines. That legislation is expected to be passed in 2005.
The London casino is the next stage in Quintain’s plans to revitalize Wembley, a northwest London neighborhood that is home to the famed soccer stadium and an arena used for concerts and boxing matches. The Wembley renewal project is being financed and developed by Quintain, and will surround the new National Stadium.

“Wembley promises to become one of Europe’s top new leisure destinations,” said Wallace Barr, Caesars Entertainment’s president and chief executive.

Wembley has been mentioned as a site for World Cup soccer matches and as a key component of London’s bid to host the 2012 Olympics.
Marc Falcone, a Deutsche Bank gambling analyst in New York, said Tuesday there were several factors that could make the Caesars project a big success.

Since the British government said it would relax its gambling laws, the largest players in the industry have rushed to get their slice of the next big market.

MGM Mirage and Harrah’s Entertainment also have announced deals to build casinos in Britain, each looking to take advantage of a nation in which 72 percent of the population — some 33 million adults — gambled an estimated $65 billion in 2001.
Both Las Vegas companies are awaiting state and federal approval on planned high-profile mergers.