No-one wants to bid for many of 16 new UK casino licences up for grabs because of the economic slump, it has been claimed.
The licences — made available last year when the financial picture was much rosier — now don’t look such a hot prospect.
Potential bidders — including Rank, Gala Coral and Genting Stanley — now say they will bid on just a few of the new licenses.
They fear it would be years before they could recoup any investment required to buy the license and build the casinos.
The Sunday Times gives the example of London Club International which recently opened a £15 million casino in Leeds close to one of the proposed new licenses.
It quotes a well-placed insider as saying: “For someone to compete with that, they are going to have to build something bigger and better.
“In the current market, that’s just not going to happen.”
And a British casino executive tells the paper: “We are looking at a lot fewer of these things than we were originally.
“In a better economic environment, they are viable and appealing.
“In the current environment, it will be challenging to make a number of them work.”
However local councils may be hoping overseas casino companies will be happier to bid than their UK-based counterparts.
Casinos Austria has already said it is interested in some of the sites.