Panel to assist on casino decision

THE battle for Scarborough’s small casino licence is set to move to the next stage.

Scarborough Council is one of 16 local authorities in the UK to have been given the power to award a new casino premises licence under the Gambling Act 2005.

Two applications were received – one from Apollo Leisure and one from Nikolas Shaw Ltd – and an Evaluation Panel will now be formed to provide advice to the licensing committee on the strengths and weaknesses of the competing bids.

The proposed six-man panel will comprise the authority’s parking and venues manager Stuart Clark, investment manager Nick Taylor, project manager Alex Richards, Barry Graham of the Safer Communities Team, accountancy manager Neil Hughes, and head of legal and support services Ian Anderson.

In a report, which will be considered by the committee at a meeting on Monday, Mr Anderson said: “This team is believed to bring together the relevant skills that will be required to advise the committee on the bids and negotiate with bidders. Included are individuals with the relevant legal, major project and procurement knowledge, an understanding of the impact of investment decisions upon regeneration within the area, an understanding of the operation of facilities within the borough which encourage tourism, financial assessment skills, and a comprehension of the impact of initiatives upon the community, crime and the environment.

“It is believed that all these skills will be required to ensure that the evaluation process properly evaluates the benefits to the area of such proposals as may come forward.”

Last month Judge Richard Blake upheld a decision by the council’s licensing sub-committee to allow Apollo through to stage two of the process, which means the two rival bidders will now be asked to demonstrate the benefits they can bring to the residents of the borough.

However, Nikolas Shaw Ltd, which owns the Opera House Casino, were unhappy with the decision and have vowed to pursue the matter at the High Court.