Construction has started on Birmingham’s first £150 million super casino.
The seven-storey 538,000 sq ft Resorts World Birmingham leisure complex, next to the LG Arena, is due to open in early 2015.
The mixed use development will include a four-star 170-bed hotel, 45 designer outlet shops, an 11-screen cinema, bars and restaurants and a banqueting and conference centre.
Accountancy firm PwC said the region’s economy would benefit by £58 million during construction and £32.8 million a year when the complex opens.
Resorts World will be owned and operated by Genting Casinos UK, part of the Malaysian Genting Group.
The company said the Birmingham scheme would create 1,750 jobs during construction and 1,100 hospitality and leisure jobs when it opens, taking advantage of some of the three million visitors to the NEC annually.
The new destination is intended to make the NEC a 24/7 venue and keep visitors around the exhibition centre in a time of increased international competition.
This is the company’s first Resorts World in Europe, with venues already open in New York, Singapore and Manila.
Paul Thandi, NEC chief executive, said: “Nationally 70 per cent of visitors to the NEC venues come from outside the region and ten per cent are international. We’re competing with the likes of Paris, New York and Los Angeles for our business.
“Unless we have ground-breaking infrastructure like this building we won’t be able to compete.”
Genting, which sponsors Aston Villa, has more than 40 venues in the UK and runs casinos in Edgbaston, Birmingham’s Chinatown, Star City and Coventry.
Mr Brooks added: “We are delighted we will be further strengthening the offer at the NEC and that we will be delivering significant economic benefits to the regional economy.
“Resorts World Birmingham is by far our most ambitious project to date - with a scale and budget to match.
“HS2, the extension of the runway at Birmingham Airport and the M42 Gateway adds to the appeal of this destination.”
Genting was awarded the large casino licence in June 2011 by Solihull Council and granted planning permission in 2012.
British company Galliford Try were appointed as building contractor in October 2012.
Lord Green, Minister of State for Trade and Investment, added: “The decision by Genting to invest £150 million in Birmingham and £250 million in the UK overall, is a major signal that Britain is open for business.
“Foreign direct investment is critical to the UK economy, safeguarding and creating around 100,000 jobs a year.
“To have a major south east Asian operator come and expand and deliver this boost to the economy and the NEC is a sign of the growing strength of this region.”
The Birmingham project is one of eight large casinos which have been approved by the Casino Advisory Panel.
Genting UK president Peter Brooks, defended the firm against accusations that supercasinos could encourage problem gambling.
He said: “People express concerns about the impact of gambling on local neighbourhoods but this is an ‘island site’. Those reservations around casinos on the high street do not apply here.
“The casino industry has an excellent ground record in promoting responsible gambling.
“We are accredited by GamCare and our staff are trained to recognise and deal with those issues.
“The vast majority of people who gamble don’t have an issue.” Mr Thandi added: “Less than one per cent of casino gamers have an issue with gambling.
“Licenced gambling is not the issue. These things need to be financially viable.
“The casino is 11 per cent of the site, without which it would be less financially viable and wouldn’t bring the other investment. We’ve got to be realistic. Gaming brings tax.”
Area: NEC Birmingham
Investment: £150 million
Size: Seven storeys and 538,000sq ft
One four-star 170-bed hotel 45 designer outlet shops
An 11-screen cinema
Bars and restaurants and a banqueting and conference centre
Predicted boost to regional economy per annum: £33m
Predicted tax revenue from Genting: £14m
Construction jobs: 1,750
Hospitality jobs on completion: 1,100
- This article is part of the Birmingham Skyline 2014 supplement produced by the Birmingham Post