Casino future hits stalemate - Tuesday 12th of July 2005

It now looks likely that the island may have to wait until next year for the States to decide if it still wants one or not.

CI Traders is adamant that one at St Pierre Park Hotel still remains viable at a reduced price of £15m., but it is believed the States might prefer one in Town, possibly costing £10m. more.

Original proposals for a casino at the hotel were agreed in September 2003, but in mid-2004 plans for a scaled-down development were revealed. These would have to go back to the House for approval and the Policy Council would not give them its support.

CI Traders can proceed with proposals at any time until the concession expires in September 2006, or until it relinquishes it before then.

‘We wanted to cut the cost and are in a stalemate until the States take the concession off us next year,’ said CI Traders chairman Tom Scott yesterday.

‘As a company, we won’t spend the £25m. the States wants. We will spend £15m. and they have said they won’t give us the licence. We are in a stand-off position at the moment.’

His company is thinking of building a hotel on the Guernsey Brewery site at the bottom of Le Val des Terres. A casino might possibly be an option there, but that would require a new bid.

‘I don’t know whether the States would renew a licence for a casino,’ said Mr Scott.

CI Traders has already spent about £1.5m. on plans for a casino at St Pierre Park and dealing with different States departments. Mr Scott insists a casino is still viable.

‘Our discussions with the States have always been amicable and friendly. They are not forcing us to spend £25m., but it may be they decide it ought to be elsewhere and might not allow us to spend £15m.

‘We need any attraction to help bring tourists here.’

Commerce and Employment Department deputy minister Carla McNulty Bauer said yesterday that the States had agreed to a casino at St Pierre Park but any changes would have to be brought back to the House.

‘It has to be an open and fair playing field and if the States decide they want to change the concession, it goes out to open tender again,’ she said.

Any application for the brewery site would have to go through the normal channels.

In March it was revealed that Guernsey could hit the jackpot following the Jersey States’ decision to reject a casino and commercial bingo.

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