Eastbourne may soon get its own casino.
New Eastbourne Pier owner Abid Gulzar has revealed he is working hard to have a casino operate on the iconic site.
Mr Gulzar welcomed council leader David Tutt and chief executive Rob Cottrill to the pier this week, and said the casino was discussed and must now be seriously considered.
Councillor Tutt said he is all in favour of the idea, while Eastbourne MP Caroline Ansell has cautiously welcomed the suggestion but emphasised she would want to see the detail first.
Mr Gulzar said, “I have long thought that Eastbourne should have a casino, and of course the pier would be the perfect place for it to be, and I would like to see this happen, quickly.
“Many people from Eastbourne have to travel to Brighton at the moment and I would like to change it so that the money is actually spent here in our town.
“I also believe it would be a great way of attracting more people into Eastbourne, which we must do as a matter of priority to continually boost our economy.
“We have the space towards the end of the pier and I am very keen to speak to casino operators who would be keen to run it and also to manage it.
“I was delighted that both David Tutt and Rob Cottrill joined my team and I on the pier to see the huge improvements and considerable investment already undertaken. We are all working very well together and I feel I have their support, which is very important to me.”
Council leader David Tutt said he wouldn’t be opposed to the casino idea.
He said, “Personally, I think it would add something extra to the town, but of course this would be a matter for the town’s licensing committee to decide.”
Eastbourne MP Caroline Ansell said she would want to see a planning application before she commented in detail.
“Of course, economic viability for the pier is very important and it must be supported, but broadly there are a number of concerns around gambling, problem gambling and other issues like late opening hours that would have to be addressed,” she said.
“Permission for such a venue is up to the borough council and I have no powers in this area, but I would be very active in ensuring that any application was well thought out, appropriate for Eastbourne and its residents and that a full consultation took place to address concerns.”
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