Affandi Salleh, 45, the managing director of a local company, said Raffles Hotel should be owned by a Singapore company because of its heritage value. - Tuesday 12th of July 2005

THE high rollers have started losing again at Stanley Leisures top London casinos.

The previous year was dreadful, when its big-spending clientele took it to the cleaners.

However, Lady Luck was against the group at its bookmaking arm - since sold to William Hill for £504m. A poor run of sporting results hit Stanley along with the rest of the bookmaking sector.

Bad luck at the races meant overall underlying pre-tax profits fell to £40.1m in the year to 1 May, compared with £41.8m a year earlier, on increased turnover of £2.07bn against £1.66bn before.

At the casinos division, Crockfords is undergoing a £4m-plus refurbishment as part of a £100m investment plan to expand and improve the estate.

The Mint casino in the capital is well advanced in its search for a bigger home. Its large casino in the Midlands, Star City, made a £2.1m loss in its second full year and is expected to post further red ink this year.

It was seen very well placed to benefit from Government plans for supercasinos until the idea was dropped in a political U-turn before the general election.

Shareholders, set to get a £325m cash bonanza from the betting shops sale, will receive a total dividend of 10.5p, against 9.5p a year earlier.

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