The chance to open the first casino in Northern Ireland
The UK operator seeks for the possibilities to open the casino in Belfast
The runner of 55 casinos on the territory of the UK, the Rank Group, is lobbying a real venture: to open a legal gambling entertainment complex in Belfast and to give work to more than 400 people.
They started discussing this project with city councilors on Tuesday, but without any results yet.
Social Development Minister Mervyn Storey, of the DUP, made a strong objection to this venture.
But a non-executive director of the Rank Group, Richard Needham, motivated their plan with the explanation of the existing situation as to gambling in Northern Ireland. Contrary to the legally banned casinos in this country, the numerous illegal gaming terminals offer their services to the lovers of slot machines and other gambling. The only way out to stop this is a creation of the well-regulated gaming establishment.
The Rank Group understands the danger of gambling addiction, so it is eager to allot £80,000 per year to the Dunleway Addiction Services, a charity organization treating gambling addicts.
Tom Ekin, one of the councilors, is generally in favour of this plan and with his help the Rank Organization intends to get a special dispensation to open a gambling institution.
At the same time, Mervyn Storey is offering to maintain the ban next year.