Casino owner struggling to play his cards right - Saturday 12th of March 2005

THE champagne heir behind Liverpool's waterfront casino yesterday said he was hedging his bets by applying to open a Las Vegas-style complex while vocally opposing such schemes.

 

Amaury Taittinger, who owns the Leo Casino, at Queens Dock, is in the unusual position of being an opponent of the regional casinos plan having already submitted his own vision for building one in Liverpool.

However, he said he believes any new incoming "super casino" will destroy the 110 jobs and ??7m investment he has already created at Queens Dock.

 

Speaking to The Daily Post, Mr Taittinger said: "I am trying to play with two different sets of cards.

"I am against the regional casinos, yes, and am pushing an amendment to the House of Lords.

"But, if one is allocated to Liverpool, I have to win it or it would be extremely difficult to compete - my business will die..

"I have invested ??7m in Liverpool and my bank manager is very nervous."

 

Mr Taittinger's Hotel & Investment Management company opened the 17,000 sq ft Leo Casino over two years ago and it has enjoyed a successful period.

His previous investments in Liverpool included the Campanile hotel in 1988 and the Dolby hotel in 1993, the latter possibly making way for an future extension of the casino.

 

He said: "The first year was OK and we made a profit last year. We're welcoming around 800 people a night.

"We've also got 110 young staff, all of them local people trained up by us.

"This legislation is an absolute disgrace in terms of its treatment of current operators whose reputation is world-recognised.

"In my view, we should not have regional casinos. They will be the largest casinos in Europe yet have never been tested here.

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