US firm pulls out of casino site - Monday 9th of February 2009

The American owners of a casino in Coventry have confirmed they are to pull out.

Isle of Capri Casinos said consultation had begun with employees with regard to the possible sale or closure of the site at the Ricoh Arena.

It is blaming the "restrictive regulatory landscape in the UK" after only being granted the license in 2005 and opening the casino a year later.

The Ricoh Arena said it is confident of finding a new domestic operator.

Thriving complex

The company originally hoped to open a "super casino" on the site but the government said only one such regional casino was allowed.

Last year, Manchester was chosen as the location of the UKs first "super-casino" but the government has since dropped the plan citing concerns over gambling and that there was "no consensus" that it was needed to boost regeneration in the area.

Donn Mitchell, senior vice president of UK operations with Isle of Capri Casinos, said the future growth potential does not warrant the "significant" resources currently allocated to it.

"As a result, we have informed our employees of the likelihood that we will either reach an agreement with another casino operator to operate this facility or face the possibility of being forced to close the operation," he said.

Daniel Gidney, chief executive of the Ricoh Arena, said he was optimistic about finding a new operator.

"When the Isle first invested, the Ricoh Arena had not been built," he said.

"Now it is a thriving complex with an international reputation and we believe that will be a massive incentive for an incoming domestic operator, " he said.

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