The Victoria Gate development in Leeds has been underway since 2014 and recently entered phase two of the development. This was marked by the opening of the Victoria Gate Casino, already dubbed the Super Casino of the North. It was opened to the public on January 26th after an exclusive ribbon-opening ceremony witnessed by 1200 invite-only, VIP guests.
This casino cost an estimate £30 million to develop and is part of the larger £165 million retail development project in Leeds. It is an impressive building, spanning over 50,000 square feet and home to 24 gaming tables, 75 electronic gaming tables and 140 slot machines. Although it is now open to the public the building still has a few finishing touches. The bar menu is still undergoing tweaks and the poker room that can sit up to 100 people will open sometime in February.
As online gambling has experienced a huge surge in the digital world, it is unsurprising that Leeds would need such a grand development in order to compete. Online casino sites such as Betway offer fabulous live poker tables and roulette that do not have the wait nor does it have the dress code of Leeds’ casino. It also offers the chance to play slots online and even bet on sporting events, so users can combine sports and gaming. The total number of UK online sports gamblers is estimated to be 2.1 million. Plus, access to Internet in the UK is ever-increasing with 7 out of 10 adults in 2014 using their mobile to access the Internet, online gambling has never been easier.
The success of the casino is yet to be determined, but the other aspects of the project are thriving. On October 20 of last year the Victoria Newgate shopping centre was opened to the public, providing 30 new premium retailers to the area including AllSaints, Cath Kidston and Louis Vuitton. This part of the project was underpinned by the ambitious 5-storey John Lewis, which has become the flagship store for the brand. The opening was a huge success, with the shopping centre receiving over 2,000 visitors in the first hour and half a million in the first week. In January the centre was shortlisted for the MIPIM best shopping centre award.
The project has been celebrated for its approach to sustainability and targeting BREEAM excellency. BREEAM is the world’s longest established method of analysing a building’s environmental impact and giving it a respected rating that reflects the sustainability. The shopping centre has been designed to maximise natural ventilation whilst optimising the ability to maintain heat. Therefore it will save on fossil fuels and also running costs. Even in the development phase 98% of landfill waste was redirected and recycled where possible, making it as eco-friendly as possible.
The Leeds Victoria Newgate project is not yet complete. The opening of the casino marked the beginning of phase two and two rooftop restaurants are also in the plan for this phase, although this is yet to be officially confirmed. With the attention and success generated by the shopping centre these plans are expected to be finalised soon.
With the large-scale development a variety of new jobs have been created in Leeds centre. The shopping centre has delivered over 1,500 employment opportunities in construction, hospitality and retail. The casino is set to provide over 500 jobs and has already received over 1000 applications. It is an exciting opportunity and the project has already benefited numerous locals throughout Leeds. Furthermore, it will attract more tourists to the area and boost local economy and is certainly a cause for celebration for the future of Leeds.