The plan to open a new casino in Dublin was faced with an obstacle when Hammerson, a UK property group and Irish Life insurance group were denied permission to open a 24-hour facility in the Ilac Shopping Center.
The Shopping Center is property of the two parties, which petitioned the City Council last summer in their attempt to find a way to utilize the vacant retail unit, which was previously a house for the clothing brand Jack & Jones.
The idea was to turn the place into a two-storey casino with ancillary “family entertainment”. Expo was the selected organization to operate the future venue.
In September, Dublin City Council denied a permission explaining that the casino simply did not fit the development plan.
In an official statement, the Council said: “There are serious concerns that permitting a casino at this location would be setting a precedent for such a non-retail use within Category 1-designated streets, the primary shopping streets in the city centre.”
Council’s Decision Appealed
Hammerson and Irish Life appealed the Council’s decision to An Bord Pleanála, Ireland’s planning appeals board.
The two applicants claimed that the retail space did not bring a fair income. Since the pandemic started, this has been happening to many facilities on the retail market. In the meantime, a future casino could have helped boost the revenue of the Shopping Center.
Although the arguments seem fair, An Bord Pleanála rejected the appeal. According to the board, the justification of the use of the venue was a difficult task.
The planning inspector noted: “It is as likely in my opinion to be problematic for Coles Lane as it is to be a benefit, either in daytime or in the evening. I do not consider that a case has been made to change the use from either retail or restaurant use as previously permitted.”
Dublin currently has a thriving casino industry but last year it met a significant obstacle when gambling giant The Stars Group announced cutting jobs prior to its merger with Flutter Entertainment.
By the end of 2020 many employees lost their jobs and others were informed that they were soon to lose their jobs.
The Canadian-based gambling company stated that the job-cutting process was important so that The Stars could continue to operate in one of its most important hubs in Ireland.
The gambling giant registered significant losses in 2019 and the cuts were supposed to compensate for that and to bring more income for the purposes of the mega-combination with Flutter Entertainment.
Source: “Hammerson and Irish Life denied permission to open casino in Dublin”, Gambling Insider, February 5, 2021