When you think of glamorous gambling and entertainment destinations, the obvious suggestions would be Las Vegas, Macau, Monte Carlo, or possibly Melbourne. It might be time to add UK city Birmingham to that list.
Birmingham is the second largest city in the United Kingdom but it has always had a bit of a bad reputation. A lot of people but not a lot else going on. However in recent years there has been a real push for the regeneration of Birmingham and it seems as if the investment in the city is beginning to pay off.
Resorts World is a £150 million casino and shopping complex. It is a 12 storey building that covers an area of 538,000 square feet (50,000 square metres), constructed in the shape of a luxury cruise liner. Within the resort complex you will find 18 bars and restaurants, 50 retail outlets, an 11-screen IMAX cinema, a spa, a hotel, and the casino. One of the principles of the design of the resort is that visitors do not need to leave the building for anything. The resort will employ 1,200 staff and has a capacity of 12,000 people at any one time.
The casino floor within the resort will include 100 slot machines as well as classic table games such as roulette, blackjack, poker, and baccarat.
Birmingham’s Resorts World casino has been built by Genting Group – the company’s first project in Europe. It has been contracted on the site of Birmingham’s National Entertainment Centre (NEC), adjacent to the existing Genting Arena.
Anti-gambling campaigners Gambling Watch UK are objecting in particular to the electronic gaming machines that will be featured in the casino, claiming that they have been proved to be dangerously addictive, and is concerned that the whole Resorts World project is part of a wider normalisation of gambling. Gambling Watch UK has suggested that Birmingham should follow a similar model to Singapore where the government has made it more expensive for local citizens to enter the casino. A similar model was used in Monte Carlo when local residents were not permitted to gamble in the iconic casino.
Tourism agency Visit England are key supporters of the project, welcoming the development as a major investment in the West Midlands region of England and part of the wider tourism strategy to drive additional visitor spend in the region. The West Midland region (of which Birmingham is the major metropolitan centre) attracts 56 million visitors each year – its key attractions include Warwick Castle, Cadbury World, and the Birmingham Library. The recent redevelopment of Birmingham’s New Street train station is also a key part of the city’s regeneration.
If you are considering a destination for your next holiday, or if you are wanting to experience some of the world’s biggest gambling destinations, then it might be time to add the city of Birmingham in England to your list.